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Pedro Matos Pereira Lab

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In the Intracellular Microbial Infection Biology (IMIB) laboratory we are interested in understanding the dynamics of the interaction between mammalian host cells and facultative intracellular bacterial pathogens using a combination of advanced microscopy approaches, organ-on-a-chip 3D cell system and classical cell biology and biochemistry approaches.

Pedro Matos Pereira
Investigador Auxiliar
PhD 2013 in Cell Biology,
ITQB NOVA (UNL), Portugal

Phone (+351) 214469566
Extension 1566
Email pmatos@itqb.unl.pt

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Research Interests

At IMIB we are interested in exploring how facultative intracellular bacteria interact with mammalian cells in the context of bacterial infection and bacterial-viral co-infection (super-infection), using a combination of advanced microscopy approaches, organ-on-a-chip 3D cell system and classical cell biology and biochemistry approaches.

In Europe, the burden caused by antibiotic resistant bacterial infections is equivalent to influenza, HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis combined.  Unsurprisingly, classical bacterial-host interactions (e.g. extracellular and professional intracellular bacterial infections) have been the subject of comprehensive research. However, the bacterial factors important for intracellular infection by facultative intracellular bacteria (e.g. Staphylococcus aureus - S. aureus - or Streptococcus pneumoniae - S. pneumoniae) and how they modulate autonomous immunity are still not fully understood. Further, while bacteria and viruses often occupy the same niches and interact, how this interplay modulates the interaction of facultative intracellular bacteria with host cells is also not fully understood.

The importance of understanding these interactions cannot be overstated as: 1) upon bacteria escaping extracellular immunity and invading host cells, autonomous immunity is the last line of defence; 2) intracellular infection is a major determinant for bacterial continuance of carriage, chronicity of infection and dissemination within the host; 3) S. pneumoniae and S. aureus are among the most common bacterial infections associated with global viral pandemics (e.g. Influenza virus or Coronavirus) resulting in enhanced pathogenesis. For example, most deaths associated with the Influenza pandemic of 1918 were not caused by Influenza virus alone, but by subsequent S. pneumoniae infection.

Having a better understanding about the mechanisms governing these interactions will have broad implications on our understanding of bacterial infection, super-infection and on immune recognition. The knowledge gained and the interdisciplinary approaches developed at IMIB will be applicable to other bacterial pathogens and in the development of new chemotherapy options to tackle the challenges of bacterial infections.

 

Group Members

  • Klementina Borovnik, Research fellow

  • Constança Costa, Research fellow

  • Laurine Savy, Erasmus student

 

Selected Publications

  1. Pereira PM, Gustafsson N, Marsh M, Mhlanga MM, Henriques R, “Super-Beacons: Open-Source probes with spontaneous tuneable blinking compatible with live-cell Super-Resolution Microscopy”, Traffic (2020).
  2. Pereira PM, Albrecht D, Culley S, Jacobs C, Marsh M, Mercer J, Ricardo Henriques,“Fix your membrane receptor imaging: Actin cytoskeleton and CD4 membrane organization disruption by chemical fixation”, Frontiers in Immunology (2019).
  3. Krokowski S, Lobato-Márquez D, Chastanet A, Pereira PM, Angelis D, Galea1 D, Larrouy-Maumus G, Henriques R, Spiliotis ET, Carballido-López R, Mostowy S, “Septins RecogniseBacterial Cell Division for Host Defence”, Cell Host & Microbe(2018).
  4. Gustafsson N, Culley S, Ashdown G, Owen DM, Pereira PM, Ricardo Henriques, “Fast live-cell conventional fluorophore nanoscopy with ImageJ through super-resolution radial fluctuations”, Nat. Communications (2016).
  5. Atilano ML, Pereira PM, Vaz, F, Catalão MJ, Reed P, Grilo IR, Sobral RG, Ligoxygakis P, Pinho MG, Filipe SR, “Bacterial autolysins trim cell surface peptidoglycan to prevent detection by the Drosophila innate immune system”, eLife (2014).

 

Laboratory's Website

For further information visit the laboratory's website (available soon)
 

Biologia da Infeção Microbiana Intracelular  (PT)

Na Europa, o impacto causado por infeções bacterianas resistentes a antibióticos é tão grande quanto o impacto combinado dos vírus influenza, HIV/SIDA e da tuberculose. Uma possível causa para este impacto é a capacidade das bactérias para causarem infeção intracelular e, desse modo, evitarem o nosso sistema imune ou os antibióticos que utilizamos. Por outro lado, as bactérias podem co-infetar o hospedeiro em conjunto com vírus – superinfeção. No entanto, os mecanismos que permitem a estas bactérias intracelulares facultativas (p.e. Staphylococcus aureus ou Streptococcus pneumoniae) modularem a imunidade autónoma e os fatores bacterianos relevantes para o processo de infeção, inclusive no contexto de co-infeção viral, ainda não são totalmente compreendidos. 

Perceber os mecanismos que medeiam estas interações poderá ter amplas implicações na forma como percecionamos as infeções e superinfeções bacterianas, bem como a resposta imunitária do hospedeiro. No IMIB, o conhecimento obtido e as estratégias interdisciplinares desenvolvidas, poderão ser aplicadas a várias bactérias patogénicas, bem como no desenvolvimento de opções de quimioterapias para enfrentar os desafios colocados pelas infeções bacterianas.

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