Host-pathogen interactions with the microsporidia Tubulinosema ratisbonensis
The increasing decline in bee health observed in recent years could be attributed in part to infection with microsporidia. Since the bee is a difficult model to study in the laboratory, we set up a model of infection in Drosophila. In this context, we have shown the importance of the host’s lipid metabolism for the proliferation of the parasite.
We recently showed that microsporidia exploits the lipid metabolism of Drosophila because its growth is dependent on phosphatidic acid (Nat Microbiol. 2019 Apr;4(4):645-655).
We have also developed a system in cell culture by which we can study the formation of structures called xenomas, corresponding to mass production factories of the parasite. We are also studying the immune response set up by Drosophila against microsporidia.