Epithelial cells in barrier tissues perform a critical immune function by detecting, restricting, and often directly eliminating extrinsic pathogens. Membrane-bound and cytosolic pattern recognition receptors in epithelial cells bind to diverse ligands, detecting pathogen components and behaviors and stimulating cell-autonomous immunity. In addition to directly acting as first-responders to pathogens, epithelial cells detect commensal-derived and diet-derived products to promote homeostasis. Recent advances have clarified the array of molecular sensors expressed by epithelial cells, and how epithelial cells responses are wired to promote homeostatic balance while simultaneously allowing elimination of pathogens. These new studies emphatically position epithelial cells as central to an effective innate immune response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy