Strains of vibrios are associated with diseases in marine invertebrates of both economical (oyster, shrimp?) and ecological interest (corals). The success of host colonization is largely dependent on the ability of bacterial populations to evade the host immune response, either by immunosuppressing it or by developing resistance mechanisms.
Our group is particularly interested in the characterization of the evasion/resistance mechanisms of vibrios in Crassostrea gigas oysters.
On the one hand, we study the mechanisms of avoidance of the oyster immune system by monitoring the oyster immune system during the course of an infection. On the other hand, we characterize the mechanisms of vibrio virulence and resistance to oyster defenses with a particular attention to phagocytosis, reactive oxygen species, and antimicrobial peptides, as main effectors of the oyster defense. We make use of a broad spectrum of complementary expertise to tackle our research main objectives by using inter-disciplinary approaches.
More recently we have focused our research efforts on two additonal questions:
Understanding how the oyster, as an invertebrate host housing an abundant endobiont microflora, can discriminate between pathogenic and commensal vibrio species, and consequently how its immune response does not lead to the elimination of both harmful and beneficial microbes.
Investigating the role of phyto- and zooplancton species present in marine coastal systems in the ecology of vibrios pathogenic for oysters, in their transmission to oysters, and in the emergence of pathogenic strains adapted to their invertebrate hosts. Integrative and multiple scale research programs are developed in that sense at the frontiers of ecology, evolution and cell biology.