Systemic lupus erythematosus is a disease with a complex etiology. Recent advances have highlighted that gut bacteria exert a potent influence on the immune system, and that disturbances in these bacterial communities may contribute to autoimmune diseases such as lupus. We propose to use a mouse model as well as samples collected from lupus patients to test the hypothesis that gut bacteria contribute to lupus by their utilization of tryptophan, an essential amino acid whose derivative metabolites activate immune cells.
This project will be conducted in collaboration with Dr. Tim Garrett from the Dept. of Pathology and Dr. Mansour Mohamadzadeh from the Center for Mucosal Immunology and Inflammation, both at UF, and Dr. Gregg Silverman, a rheumatologist at NYU.