How do the cells of our nasal epithelium interact with the ‘outside world’? We don’t know much about the regulation of endocytosis and cell-to-cell transport in the muco-ciliary epithelium of the upper respiratory tract. Viruses, on the other hand, know all about it.
We use in vitro developed 3D-tissues derived from human nasal primary epithelial cells to recapitulate the basic properties of the nasal epithelium. By combining frontier imaging approaches with biochemistry and cell biology techniques, we follow the lead of respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-1 & -2, MERS-CoV and Respiratory Syncytial virus to find all the keys and passwords that give viruses access to the interior of our cells and that allow transport across tissues.