Tuft cell activation and intestinal immunity


  • Prof Rick Maizels

    University of Glasgow

  • Dr Collette Britton

    University of Glasgow

  • Prof Eileen Devaney

    University of Glasgow

  • Dr Philippe Jay

    Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique

  • Dr Tom McNeilly

    Moredun Research Institute

Project summary

Nematodes or roundworms are common parasites of animals and humans. They dampen down the immune response of their hosts and establish long-term, chronic infections. They are becoming increasingly difficult to treat in animals because of drug resistance. 

We will study the interaction of nematodes with a hitherto neglected cell type in the intestine called the tuft cell. This cell is key to the development of a protective immune response and we aim to identify the parasite molecules that interact with them. Tuft cells express taste receptors and we will determine whether they may be able to 'taste' the presence of worms in the intestine. During this study, we will attempt to develop organoids from sheep, a new way of studying disease in culture rather than in whole animals.

Our findings will help us find new ways of controlling infection.