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Featured Publications

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Ualiyeva et al., Science Immunology, 2020

Using an ex vivo and in vivo system, we report that chemosensory airway brush cells (tuft cells) are activated by ATP as well as the aeroallergens Alternaria alternata (a mold allergen) and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (house dust mite allergen) for generation of eicosanoids, potent proinflammatory mediators of inflammation and vasodilatation. Alternaria-triggered ATP release and ATP-mediated P2Y2 receptor activation augments the aeroallergen-elicited generation of eicosanoids by brush cells. These findings identify a role for cysteinyl leukotrienes in the primary response to aeroallergens and a potent feed forward loop that amplifies allergen-triggered activation of brush cells.

Bankova et al., Science Immunology, 2018

We identify brush cells, a rare population of chemosensory cells in the lower airways, as the primary cell regulated by CysLT3R in the acute response to the aeroallergen Alternaria alternata. Brush cells expand in the lower airways in response to Alternaria and the house dust mite allergen Dermatophagoides farinae in a CysLT- and CysLT3R -dependent fashion. This expansion is associated with the development of CysLT3R-dependent IL-25-driven lung inflammation, pointing to a role of CysLTs and CysLT3R in both epithelial cell fate and the development of type 2 immunity.

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Bankova et al., PNAS, 2016

We identify an allergen-triggered pathway for activation of mast cells and generation of cysteinyl leukotrienes independent of allergen sensitization. First exposure to the airborne mold fungus Alternaria triggers innate mast cell degranulation and generation of cysteinyl leukotrienes in the naïve mouse nasal mucosa. These events lead to mucin release and submucosal vasodilatation mediated through the high-affinity receptor for the stable cysteinyl leukotriene- LTE4.

news1 read more SCIENCENEWS, JANUARY 2020 Hairy cells in the nose called brush cells may be involved in causing allergies read more POPULAR SCIENCE, DECEMBER 2020 Can’t smell or taste the bacon? It’s probably a sign of COVID-19. read more THESCIENTIST, JANUARY 2020 Chemosensory Cells in the Nose Play a Role in Allergic Reactions In the News

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Lora Bankova is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her research focuses on defining the specialized functions of epithelial cells in the olfactory and respiratory mucosa.

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