Mucosal epithelial cells provide a barrier to both commensal microorganisms and invading pathogens and play a role in the activation of innate immune responses. Salmonella invades the intestinal epithelium, resulting in a profound inflammatory response. It thus provides a model with which to analyze the role of epithelial cells in the initiation of mucosal immune responses.
We have developed a bovine intestinal epithelial cell line and, using siRNA technology, will modulate the expression of innate immune genes in these cells. Cells will be infected with Salmonella and analyzed to determine the role of specific immune genes in regulating cellular responses. Understanding the roles of these genes in the induction of innate immune responses will provide an understanding of the regulation of mucosal inflammation and immunity.