The paradigm of antimicrobials design almost always neglects how intracellular pathogens interact with their host, the so-called host-pathogens interactions. The very first level of these interactions occurs when the innate immune system scans for bacterial epitopes through the pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which are present on the plasma membrane of immune cells. These bind to conserved pathogens-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), unique motifs belonging to the world of microorganisms only (pathogenic or not). Inevitably, pathogens evolved mechanisms to evade the PRRs, or to exploit them in order to access their host, propagate, and start a pathogenic event. Despite exploring some of the interactions between intracellular parasites and their host, we are still far from encoding all the complex dynamics of host cell receptors expression upon infection, which are almost unknown.
This project aims to decipher such molecular ‘barcodes’ of infection, which will enable developing new drug delivery systems that target infected cells only, and avoid unwanted tissue drug distribution with a consequent reduction of the side effects.