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Goblet cell-mediated mucosal defence

George Birchenough
Contact information | List of publications

Our mucosal surfaces are the interface between the environment and our tissues. Their physiological functions necessitate constant exposure of living cells to a vast collection of microbial lifeforms that includes many opportunistic and obligate pathogens.

The epithelial cell layer strictly controls interactions between this environment and our internal systemic tissues. However, this single layer of cells can only endure in this setting due to the multi-layered defensive functions of the epithelial cellular lineages.

Goblet cells are a lineage that specialise in the synthesis and secretion of gel-forming mucins and other mucus components that restrict microbial access to the epithelium. Historically considered a single cell type with only this function, recent research hints that they comprise multiple, functionally diverse subpopulations that contribute to different aspects of mucosal defence, thereby regulating our interactions with the mucosal environment.

In collaboration with the wider Mucin Biology Groups cluster at the University of Gothenburg and both national and international partners, the laboratory seeks to develop new tools allowing the identification and characterisation of goblet cell-mediated defence systems.

Our goal is to understand their roles in the pathoaetiology of mucosal-related diseases including enteric infections, inflammatory bowel disease, pre-term birth and diabetes, with the ultimate purpose of developing innovative prophylactic and therapeutic strategies.

Group members

George Birchenough, PhD, Assistant Professor (Forskarassistent), principal investigator
Joana K. Volk, medical student 

Sidansvarig: Dan Baeckström|Sidan uppdaterades: 2019-09-09

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