Mario de Bono

Interleukin 17 as a neuromodulator
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Mounting evidence supports a link between chronic inflammation and neuropsychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder. Interleukin 17 (IL-17) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that mediates responses to pathogens or tissue damage. Its functions in the immune system are under intense scrutiny, as it drives pathogenesis in autoimmune diseases. By contrast, little is known about IL-17’s role in the nervous system. We recently discovered that IL-17 can act like a neuromodulator in the Caenorhabditis elegans nervous system, changing the gain of a defined circuit. We highlighted part of a signal transduction mechanism mediating these neural effects of IL-17, but the fundamental mechanisms remain unclear. This project aims to elucidate how IL-17 exerts effects on circuit function, using both C. elegans and cultured mammalian neurons. The project will combine genetics, biochemistry, neural imaging, and RNA profiling of single cells.


Chen, C., Itakura, E., Nelson, G.M., Sheng, M., Laurent, P., Fenk, L.A., Butcher, R.A., Hegde, R.S. and de Bono, M. (2017).
IL-17 is a neuromodulator of Caenorhabditis elegans sensory responses.
Nature 542:43-48.