Project manager: Dr. Matthias Lechmann
This research group is on the one hand interested in the regulatory mechanisms balancing TH1/TH17-TH2 immune responses and on the other hand on the development and activation of regulatory T cells in vivo. They are focusing on two modulators of the immune system, namely the thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) and CD83. TSLP is thought to be the “missing link” between DC activation and allergic responses. To further analyze the role of TSLP in vivo, a TSLP KO-mouse has been generated. Using this KO-mouse the function of TSLP will be addressed in different inflammatory and infectious diseases models as well as in models for autoimmunity.
In the second project the CD83-specific reporter mouse has been generated, which now allows us to carry out in vivo monitoring of CD83 expressing cells. In this project the expression and function of CD83 in T cell subpopulations is of particular interest. With regard to the therapeutic application of sCD83, a pilot study in an animal model of inflammatory bowel disease, i.e. the DNBS-induced colitis, has been performed. Interestingly sCD83 treatment ameliorated DNBS-induced colitis, whereby these animals showed less severe progress of disease and significant faster recovery.
In addition, a rapid and highly specific aptamer-based screening technology for the detection of biomarkers on living cells has been established. One aim using this technique is to isolate specific aptamers for T cell epitopes of known tumor antigens. Furthermore, new tumor targets will be identified to improve tumor-specific DC-vaccination strategies.