The evolutionary highly-conserved cytokine interleukin-17 (IL-17) has emerged as a critical player in antifungal immunity, in particular in mucosal tissues and the skin. This is emphasized by the association of rare genetic defects in the IL-17 pathway with an increased susceptibility to Candida albicans infection. Using a mouse model of mucocutaneous candidiasis, this project addresses the mechanism of IL-17-mediated protection against C. albicans. We are interested in the regulation of IL-17 production by innate and adaptive cells and we aim at understanding the contribution of different accessory cell populations and molecular signals that coordinate the induction of IL-17 in response to C. albicans. In addition, we study the effector mechanisms by which IL-17 mediates its antifungal effects in the epithelium.
Funding: FWF Der Wissenschaftsfonds Austria; Forschungskredit UZH; Promedica Stiftung; Swiss National Science Foundation