Properties of Francisella tularensis allowing escape from innate immune mechanisms
The highly virulent bacterium Francisella tularensis, causing the zoonotic disease tularemia, is frequently transmitted to man by blood-feeding arthropods. The bacteria survive in arthropods despite the efficient immune responses in such hosts. In mammals F. tularensis circumvents innate immune mechanisms. The aim is to characterize new F. tularensis genes involved in resistance to innate immunity. We combine bacterial genetics with the powerful tools of fruit fly genetics to elucidate the biological prerequisites for F. tularensis persistence in insects. This knowledge will help to prevent disease transmission by arthropod vectors and may lead to new antibiotic drugs.