Tuft cells, taste-chemosensory cells, orchestrate parasite type 2 immunity in the gut

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Science  04 Feb 2016:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf1648

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The intestinal epithelium forms an essential barrier separating host and microbiota. Protozoa and helminths are members of the gut microbiota of mammals, including humans; yet the many ways gut epithelial cells orchestrate responses to these Eukaryota remains unclear. Herein we show that tuft cells, taste-chemosensory epithelial cells, accumulate during parasite colonization and infection. Disruption of chemosensory signaling, via loss of Trpm5, abrogates expansion of tuft cells, goblet cells, eosinophils, and type-2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) during parasite colonization. Tuft cells are the primary source of the parasite-induced cytokine, interleukin (IL)-25, which indirectly induces tuft cells expansion by promoting IL-13 production by ILCs. Our results identify intestinal tuft cells as critical sentinels in the gut epithelium, promote type-2 immunity in response to intestinal parasites.

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