Neisseria meningitidis colonizes the nasopharynx of healthy individuals asymptomatically. Under certain but unknown conditions, bacteria can convert into an invasive phenotype leading to bacterial meningitis and fatal septic shock.

Our research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie the development of meningococcal disease. The goal is to establish better therapeutic and precautionary options to against meningococcal infection.

Right now we are focusing on:

1. Identification and characterization of novel virulence factors that contribute to the development of invasive meningococcal disease

2. Functional monocyte-macrophage polarization during meningococcal infection


Bacterial infection, innate immunity, macrophages, virulence factors


Selected publications

Chen, Y., Sjölinder, M., Wang, X., Altenbacher, G., Hagner, M., Berglund, P., Gao, Y., Lu, T., Jonsson, A.B., & Sjölinder, H. (2012). Thyroid hormone enhances nitric oxide-mediated bacterial clearance and promotes survival after meningococcal infection. PloS ONE. 7(7):e41445

Sjölinder, M., Altenbacher, G., Hagner, M., Sun, W., Schedin-Weiss, S., & Sjölinder, H. (2012). Meningococcal outer membrane protein NhhA triggers apoptosis in macrophages. PLoS ONE. 7(1):e29586

Sjölinder, M., Altenbacher, G., Wang, X., Gao, Y.M., Hansson, C. & Sjölinder, H. (2012). Meningococcal adhesion NhhA provokes proinflammatory cytokines via TLR4-dependent and -independent pathways. Infect and Immun. 80(11):4027-33

Basmarke-Wehelie, R., Sjölinder, H., Jurkowski, W., Elofsson, A., Arnqvist, A., Engstrand, L., Hagner, M., Wallin, E., Guan, N., Kuranasekera, H., Aro, H., & Jonsson, A.B. (2011). The complement regulator CD46 is bactericidal to Helicobacter pylori and blocks urease activity. Gastroenterology. 141(3):918-28

Sjölinder, H. & Jonsson, A.B. (2010). Olfactory nerve - a novel invasion route of Neisseria meningitidis to invade meninges. PloS ONE. 5(11):e14034