Prof. Julian Naglik

Professor of Dental Clinical Academic Group

Research Focus

Host-pathogen interactions, Candida pathogenesis, Innate immunity, Epithelial biology, Pattern recognition

Scientific Activities

Research in the Naglik Laboratory relates to host-microbial interactions at mucosal surfaces with specific emphasis on fungal and bacterial pathogenesis, mucosal immunity and epithelial signalling. His group has identified epithelial mechanisms that discriminate between the commensal and pathogenic state of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans and has recently identified a cytolytic peptide toxin (Candidalysin) that activates this discriminatory mechanism. Candidalysin is the first cytolytic peptide toxin identified in any human fungal pathogen and reveals the mechanism by which C. albicansdamages and activates epithelial tissues.

Current research projects relate to determining the structure of Candidalysin in epithelial membranes and the mechanism of mucosal immune induction. Other projects relate to identifying how periodontal pathogens activate epithelial tissues. Our work is funded by the Medical Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, The Wellcome Trust and The European Union.

Mucosal Candida infections

Candida albicans is one of the most common fungal pathogen of humans. In health, this fungus is a harmless coloniser of mucosal tissues. However, under suitably predisposing conditions, C. albicans has the ability to cause serious and debilitating mucosal infections. Recent work has concentrated on characterising two key signalling pathways in epithelial cells that discriminate between the two major morphological forms of this fungus (yeast and hyphae)Furthermore, we have recently discovered a novel cytolyic peptide toxin (Candidalysin) from C. albicans that activates these signalling mechanisms. Current work aims to understand the mechanism of action of this peptide toxin and its importance in promoting mucosal C. albicansinfections.


Periodontitis, a major cause of tooth loss, is a bacterially induced inflammatory disease affecting the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth, whose molecular basis is poorly understood. Current work aims to identify whether epithelial cells recognise and respond differently to health-associated bacteria as compared with periodontal pathogens. Elucidating the mechanisms by which this happens will form the basis of our future studies.

Significant Publications

Conti, H. R. , Bruno, V. M. , Childs, E. E. , Daugherty, S. , Hunter, J. P. , Mengesha, B. G. , Saevig, D. L. , Hendricks, M. R. , Coleman, B. M. , Brane, L. , Solis, N. , Cruz, J. A. , Verma, A. H. , Garg, A. V. , Hise, A. G. , Richardson, J. P. , Naglik, J. R. , Filler, S. G. , Kolls, J. K. , Sinha, S.  & 1 others IL-17 Receptor Signaling in Oral Epithelial Cells Is Critical for Protection against Oropharyngeal Candidiasis 27 Oct 2016 In : Cell Host & Microbe.

Moyes, D. , Wilson, D. , Richardson, J. P. , Mogavero, S. , Tang, S. , Wernecke, J. , Hofs, S. , Gratacap, R. L. , Robbins, J. G.Runglall, M. , Murciano, C. , Blagojevic, M. , Thavaraj, S. J. , Forster, T. M. , Hebecker, B. , Kasper, L. , Vizcay-Barrena, G. , Iancu, S. I. , Kichik Rodriguez, N. , Hader, A.  & 11 others Candidalysin is a fungal peptide toxin critical for mucosal infection 7 Apr 2016 In : NATURE. 5327597p. 64-68

Tang, S.Moyes, D. L.Richardson, J. P.Blagojevic, M. & Naglik, J. R. Epithelial discrimination of commensal and pathogenic Candida albicans Apr 2016 In : ORAL DISEASES. 22p. 114-119


Contact information

King's College London Dental Institute
Guy's Hospital

Phone: +44 (0)20 7848 6123

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