Influenza, Immunity and Metabolism

Head of Team

François Trottein


Despite the application of vaccination programs, antiviral and antibiotic drugs, respiratory viral and bacterial infections are responsible for widespread morbidity and mortality. Co-morbidities, including lung diseases or chronic inflammation can exacerbate the outcome of respiratory infections. Our laboratory focuses on two major respiratory pathogens including influenza A virus (flu) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus), the main cause of bacterial pneumonia in humans. More recently, we have initiated novel programms on SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of COVID-19. Our general objectives are:
(1) To identify early host antibacterial and antiviral defense mechanisms during influenza and S. pneumoniae infections,
(2) To define susceptibility host cellular and molecular factors that predispose to respiratory infections,
(3) To develop new strategies to strengthen host defense mechanisms against respiratory pathogens.

Over the last few years, we have identified several therapeutic. These include components of the immune system and factors produced by the gut microbiota, the function of which being critical in health and diseases. We are trying to understand this complex pathway (gut/lung axis) in order to identify new prognostic/diagnostic markers associated with respiratory infections and therapeutic candidates to combat them.

Received his PhD degree in 1992 from the University of Lille. Between 1986 and 1994, he studied helminth and protozoan parasites with the aim to improve vaccine efficacy (1986-1992) and to better understand mechanisms leading to drug resistance (1992-1994). He did a post-doc between 1992 and 1994 at the Walter and ELIZA Hall Institute, Royal Melbourne Hospital. In 1995, he obtained a tenure position at CNRS and he started to develop his own group in France, at the Institut Pasteur de Lille. Since 1995, François Trottein has been working on host/pathogen (parasites, bacteria, viruses) interactions; the objectives being to better understand escape mechanisms to immune responses and to exploit the innate immune system for designing novel therapeutic approaches. He has made major contribution in the field of innate immunity and lipids, either eicosanoids and antigenic lipids. For the later, he described the role (either beneficial or deleterious) of Natural Killer T cells, a population of lipid-reactive T cells, during infection. Since 2010, his group is developing research projects on respiratory infections and more precisely on influenza A virus (flu) and Streptococcus pneumoniae, the leading cause of bacterial pneumonia in humans.