Dr. K. (Karin) Strijbis

Dr. K. (Karin) Strijbis

Universitair hoofddocent
030 253 4755

"How do we live with trillions of intestinal bacteria without getting sick? The answer lies in defense mechanisms of the mucus layer"


Impact of bacteria-mucin interactions on intestinal health

Intestinal bacteria interact with the host in the mucus layer, a complex defense system that consists of secreted mucins, defense proteins and transmembrane mucins. Transmembrane mucins such as MUC1, MUC3, MUC4, MUC13 and MUC17 are expressed on the apical surface of intestinal epithelial cells and contain a large glycosylated extracellular domain and a cytoplasmic tail with signaling capacity. Important processes such as immune responses, proliferation and apoptosis, cellular migration, wound healing and epithelial barrier function are regulated by transmembrane mucins. Transmembrane mucins are also highly overexpressed in different adenocarcinomas (e.g. colorectal cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer). In my group, we are investigating how commensal and pathogenic bacteria interact with mucins and impact their signaling. The goal of our research is to determine the role of mucin proteins during bacterial infections at mucosal surfaces and during the interplay with commensal bacterial 
Focus areas

  • Pathogenic and commensal bacteria (Salmonella enterica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Prevotella species, Mannheimia haemolytica, Campylobacter jejuni, EHEC, Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, etc)
  • Changes in the mucus layer during inflammatory bowel disease
  • The functions of mucins during carcinogenesis
  • Advanced primary intestine, lung and vaginal infection models

Bacteria-mucin interactions in the intestinal tract