Wullaert team - Inflammasomes in Infections and Auto-inflammation laboratory

Research Field: Inflammasomes in Infections and Auto-inflammation

Team leader: Prof. Dr. Andy Wullaert

Tel: +32 9 33 13 730
Email: Andy.Wullaert.spam.detractor@irc.vib-ugentspam.corruptor.be

Research topic

Our research group investigates the function of cytosolic protein complexes termed inflammasomes that play important roles in immune responses. Inflammasome activation happens through a sensor protein that senses the trigger, after which a protease termed caspase-1 executes inflammasome functions. Both pathogens and host-derived danger and stress signals can trigger caspase-1 activity of inflammasomes, which then cleave their substrates. These substrates include Gasdermin D, of which the N-terminal fragment triggers a lytic form of cell death termed pyroptosis. This inflammasome-induced cell death mode is accompanied by the release of the IL-1β and IL-18 pro-inflammatory cytokines, both of which are maturated by caspase-1 activity, as well as several danger-associated molecular patterns that together mount an efficient inflammatory response.

Areas of expertise

  • Genetic mouse models of rare human auto-inflammatory diseases caused by gain-of-function mutants of inflammasome signaling proteins
  • In vivo and ex vivo models of bacterial, viral and fungal infectious diseases
  • In vivo humanized mouse models and ex vivo primary human cell models
  • In vivo and primary cell ex vivo analysis of inflammasome and cell death signaling

Technology transfer potential

  • Identification of novel therapeutic targets in managing diseases that are controlled by inflammasome and cell death signaling
  • Development of novel genetic mouse models for studying auto-inflammatory diseases

Selected publications

  1. Mamantopoulos, M., Ronchi, F et al. Nlrp6- and ASC-Dependent Inflammasomes Do Not Shape the Commensal Gut Microbiota Composition.
    Immunity. 47, 339-348, 2017.
  2. Dubois H et al. Nlrp3 inflammasome activation and Gasdermin D-driven pyroptosis are immunopathogenic upon gastrointestinal norovirus infection.
    PLoS Pathog, 15, e1007709, 2019.
  3. Rogiers et al. Candidalysin crucially contributes to Nlrp3 inflammasome activation by Candida albicans hyphae.
    mBio 2019, 10 (1): e02221-18.
  4. Mamantopoulos et al. El Tor biotype Vibrio cholerae activates the caspase-11-independent canonical Nlrp3 and Pyrin inflammasomes.
    Frontiers in Immunology 2019, 10, 2463.
  5. De Schutter et al. Punching Holes in Cellular Membranes: Biology and Evolution of Gasdermins.
    Trends in Cell Biology 2021, S0962-8924(21)00050-7.

Histology and endoscopy of colitis in mice


Phylogenetic 16S DNA microbiota profiling


Intestinal epithelial organoid live cell imaging

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