Ilias Kounatidis

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Ilias Kounatidis is a Research Associate at beamline B24 and academic visitor of the Department of Biochemistry at University of Oxford

 

Email: ilias.kounatidis@diamond.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 123556 x7569

Key Research Area

  • cryo x-ray tomography
  • microbiology
  • immunology
  • genetics
  • entomology
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Latest Publications

  • I Kounatidis*, F Vaz*, G Covas*, R Parton, M Harkiolaki, I Davis, S Filipe, P Ligoxygakis. 2018. Accessibility to peptidoglycan and not discrimination of the peptide moiety drives recognition of Gram-positive bacteria and bacilli in Drosophila. Cell Reports 27(8), 2480-2492.
  • Ι Kounatidis* & S Chtarbavova*. 2018. Role of glial immunity in lifespan determination: a Drosophila perspective. Frontiers in Immunology (9) 1362.

  • I Kounatidis, L Ames, R Mistry, H Ho, K Haynes and P Ligoxygakis. 2018. A host-pathogen interaction screen reveals ada2 as a mediator of Candida glabrata defences against reactive oxygen species. G3 (Genes, Genomes, Genetics). 8 (5), 1637-1647.

  • SV Jonnes and I Kounatidis. 2017. NF-κB and Alzheimer Disease, unifying genetic and environmental risk factors from cell to humans. Frontiers in Immunology. 8 (1805), 1-9.

 

Research Summary

  1. Research
  2. Publications
  3. Press Releases
  4. Education
Research -

 

B24 is the soft X-ray tomography beamline at Diamond offering both high resolution tomography and super resolution fluorescence microscopy facilities for biological samples. The beamline is at the later commissioning stages with an active user community already in place. The methods developed onsite promise to provide unique insights into the ultrastructure of cells under a variety of near physiological scenarios.


The main focus of my research is the elucidation of the effects of microbial challenge to the distribution of immunity factors and the cellular ultrastructure of primary phagocytes. Macrophages are the first line of defense within the context of innate immunity, an evolutionary conserved germ-line coded host defense.  

Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen causing significant morbidity and mortality due to community and hospital obtained infections. This pathogen causes a variety of diseases, including cellulitis, food poisoning, toxic shock syndrome, necrotizing pneumonia, and endocarditis. For many years S. aureus was classified as a typical extracellular pathogen. However, recent experiments evaluating invasion and the intracellular survival of S. aureus in endothelial and epithelial cells suggest that such events may contribute to the persistence of S. aureus during infections such as endocarditis and bovine mastitis. Moreover, it has long been known that professional phagocytes may serve as intracellular reservoirs of this specific pathogen. Recent in vitro studies have further confirmed high levels of resistance by S. aureus to neutrophil and macrophage mediated killing. This project seeks to deliver a spatial understanding of the interactions between Drosophila primary macrophages and S. aureus with emphasis on tracking the infection following both microbe molecules and host receptors and connect time, bacterial load and macrophage fate.

Over the past decade the incidence of invasive fungal infection in immunocompromised individuals has dramatically increased, with candidiasis being the most common. Although largely due to Candida albicans, a shift towards non-albicans Candida species such as C. glabrata has been recently observed (C. glabrata has reduced susceptibility to commonly used antifungal agents).

Candida albicans and C. glabrata are the two most common pathogenic yeasts of humans, yet they are phylogenetically, genetically and phenotypically very different. In this study, we will compare and contrast the strategies they employ to evade the host immune response. Although their strategies share basic concepts they differ greatly in their outcome. While C. albicans follows an aggressive infection strategy leading to the death of engaged professional clearance cells, C. glabrata has evolved a strategy which is based on stealth, evasion and persistence without causing severe damage in host cells. However both fungi are successful as commensals and as pathogens in humans.

At B24 we have established a primary phagocytes infection model using plasmatocytes extracted from Drosophila melanogaster larvae. These have proved to be a reliable and accessible model for the visualisation and tracking of a wide range of pathogens through the clearance pathways of plasmatocyte host cells. We now focus our study on understanding distinct host-pathogen interactions of the closely related Candida species, C. albicans and C. glabrata with a view to relating our results in the longer term to the their respective proteomes.

We use correlative cryo-microscopy (within the resident capabilities at beamline B24) to associate cell morphology and ultrastructure with distinct stages of the phagocytosis process (recognition, engulfment, phagosome maturation, and clearance). Thus we aim to reveal novel insights into the mechanisms that hinder effective phagocytic clearance and ultimately provide credible molecular targets towards effective fungal elimination strategies.

 

 

 

Publications - +

 

  • I Kounatidis*, F Vaz*, G Covas*, R Parton, M Harkiolaki, I Davis, S Filipe, P Ligoxygakis. 2018. Accessibility to peptidoglycan and not discrimination of the peptide moiety drives recognition of Gram-positive bacteria and bacilli in Drosophila. Cell Reports 27(8) 2480-2492.

  • Ι Kounatidis* & S Chtarbavova*. 2018. Role of glial immunity in lifespan determination: a Drosophila perspective. Frontiers in Immunology (9) 1362.

  • I Kounatidis, L Ames, R Mistry, H Ho, K Haynes and P Ligoxygakis. 2018. A host-pathogen interaction screen reveals ada2 as a mediator of Candida glabrata defences against reactive oxygen species. G3 (Genes, Genomes, Genetics). 8 (5), 1637-1647.

  • SV Jonnes and I Kounatidis. 2017. NF-κB and Alzheimer Disease, unifying genetic and environmental risk factors from cell to humans. Frontiers in Immunology. 8 (1805), 1-9.

  • I Kounatidis*, S Chtarbanova*, Y Cao, M Hayne, B Ganeztky, P Ligoxygakis. 2017. NF-κB immunity in the brain determines fly lifespan in healthy ageing and age-related neurodegeneration. Cell Reports. 19 (4), 836-848 *equal first authors.

  • R Mistry, P Ligoxygakis*, I Kounatidis*. 2017. A constitutively active immune system shapes gut microbiota in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics. 206 (2), 889-904. *equal correspondence authors.

  • R Mistry, I Kounatidis, P Ligoxygakis. 2016. Exploring interactions between pathogens and the Drosophila gut. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 64 (3), 10.1016.

  • I Kounatidis*, MDA Fernando*, P Ligoxygakis. 2014. Loss of Trabid, a new negative regulator of the Drosophila immune-deficiency pathway at the level of TAK1, reduces life span. PLOS Genetics 10 (2), e1004117

  • L Wang, I Kounatidis, P Ligoxygakis. 2014. Drosophila as a model to study the role of blood cells in inflammation, innate immunity and cancer. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection microbiology (3), 113.

  • I Kounatidis, P Ligoxygakis. 2012. Drosophila as a model system to unravel the layers of innate immunity to infection. Open biology 2 (5), 120075.

  • A Castrignanò, L Boccaccio, Y Cohen, D Nestel, I Kounatidis, NT Papadopoulos, D De Benedetto, P Mavragani-Tsipidou. 2012. Spatio-temporal population dynamics and area-wide delineation of Bactrocera oleae monitoring zones using multi-variate geostatistics. Precision Agriculture 13 (4), 421-441.

  • M T Glittenberg, I Kounatidis, D Christensen, M Kostov, S Kimber, I Roberts, P Ligoxygakis. Pathogen and host factors are needed to provoke a systemic host response to gastrointestinal infection of Drosophila larvae by Candida albicans. 2011. Disease Models & Mechanisms 4 (4), 515-525.

  • P Akmoutsou, D Mademtzoglou, I Nakou, A Onoufriadis, X Papadopoulou, I Kounatidis, G Frantzios, G Papadakis, K Vasiliadis, N T Papadopoulos, P MavraganiTsipidou. 2011. Evaluation of toxicity and genotoxic effects of spinosad and deltamethrin in Drosophila melanogaster and Bactrocera oleae. Pest Management Science 67 (12), 1534-1540.

  • E Drosopoulou, D Nestel, I Nakou, I Kounatidis, NT Papadopoulos, K Bourtzis, P Mavragani-Tsipidou. 2011. Cytogenetic analysis of the Ethiopian fruit fly Dacus ciliatus (Diptera: Tephritidae). Genetica 139 (6), 723-732.

  • E Drosopoulou, A A Augustinos, I Nakou, K Koeppler, I Kounatidis, H Vogt, N T Papadopoulos, K Bourtzis, P Mavragani-Tsipidou. 2011. Genetic and cytogenetic analysis of the American cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cingulata (Diptera: Tephritidae). Genetica 139 (11-12), 1449-64.

  • D Mademtzoglou, P Akmoutsou, I Kounatidis, G Franzios, E Drosopoulou, D Vokou, P MavraganiTsipidou. 2011. Applying the Drosophila wing spot test to assess the genotoxic impact of 10 essential oil constituents used as flavouring agents or cosmetic ingredients. Flavour and Fragrance Journal 26 (6), 447-451.

  • E Drosopoulou, K Koeppler, I Kounatidis, I Nakou, NT Papadopoulos, K Bourtzis, P Mavragani-Tsipidou. 2010. Genetic and Cytogenetic Analysis of the Walnut-Husk Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 103 (6), 1003-1011.

  • I Kounatidis, V T Papoti, N Nenadis, G Franzios, M Oikonomou, F Partheniou, M Tsimidou, P Mavragani-Tsipidou. 2009. Evaluation of potential genotoxicity of virgin olive oil (VOO) using the Drosophila wing-spot test. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 57 (17), 7785-7789.

  • I Kounatidis, E Crotti, P Sapountzis, L Sacchi, A Rizzi, B Chouaia, C Bandi, A Alma, D Daffonchio, P Mavragani-Tsipidou, K Bourtzis. 2009. Acetobacter tropicalis is a major symbiont of the olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae). Applied and environmental microbiology 75 (10), 3281-3288.

  • I Kounatidis, NT Papadopoulos, P MavraganiTsipidou, Y Cohen, K Tertivanidis, M Nomikou, D Nestel. 2008. Effect of elevation on spatiotemporal patterns of olive fly (Bactrocera oleae) populations in northern Greece. Journal of Applied Entomology 132 (9-10), 722-733.

  • I Kounatidis, N Papadopoulos, K Bourtzis, P Mavragani-Tsipidou132 (910), 722-733. 2008. Genetic and cytogenetic analysis of the fruit fly Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera: Tephritidae). Genome 51 (7), 479-491.1.

Press Releases - +

Education - +
  • Master in Education - Leadership and Management 2017 - 2019 (May), (School of Education, Oxford Brookes University, UK).
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Teachin in Higher Education (PCTHE) 2016-2017, (Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford Brookes University, UK).
  • PhD in Microbiology / Genetics 2005-2009, (School of Biology, Faculy of Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece).
  • Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Biological Sciences 2000-2005, (School of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece).