First Call

  • call is closed
  • 20 funding organisations involved from 16 countries
  • total budget of 14 Mio €
  • 67 full-proposals received
  • 10 projects recommended for funding



Controlling the impact of Escherichia coli mastitis through modulation of immune responses



2 (Development of knowledge which may lead to tools for diagnosis and disease prevention, including vaccines)

Duration of project:

36 Months

Total project costs:

1.712.738 €

Animal group:


Principle investigator:

David Smith, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Project partner:

Royal Veterinary College, United Kingdom
University of Ghent, Belgium
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
INRA, France
INRA, France
INRA, France
INRA, France
Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health International), France

Mastitis remains one of the main infectious diseases affecting dairy cows. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a major causal agent of 'clinical' mastitis which frequently occurs after parturition and in the early lactation period. Incidence of E. coli mastitis has been increasing relentlessly over recent years and usually presents with acute, severe clinical effects for which current management, prevention or treatment strategies are frequently insufficient or futile. E. coli is a common resident in the intestine and adaptation of specific strains (Mammary Pathogenic E. coli - MPEC) to intra-mammary infection and the emergence of bacterial resistance to current antibiotics present ongoing risks to control measures. While the few available E. coli mastitis vaccines are beneficial, they have debatable efficacy. Hence, adequate control of E. coli mastitis urgently requires a novel generation of immunity-promoting products and/or other treatments.  To significantly improve clinical mastitis control, cross-disciplinary collaboration is mandatory. Our international consortium proposes an innovative strategy with strongly linked goals: extensive genomic and phenotypic characterization of MPEC strains; identification of novel critical inflammatory factors both at the bacterial and host response level using advanced molecular tools and complementary in vivo models; and, definition of key innate and adaptive immune cell determinants of this inflammation-mediated pathology with emphasis towards protective immune responses. This combined gain in fundamental knowledge on the host-pathogen interactions in E. coli mastitis will support selection of novel candidates for evaluation as diagnostic, immunoprophylactic or therapeutic targets.  Participation in this project of an international company at the leading edge of delivering animal health solutions ensures delivery of translational outcomes for disease control through the knowledge gained on the interaction between MPEC and cattle.


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