Project manager: Dr. rer. nat. Linda Grosche
The project group "DC and viruses" analyzes the interaction between DC and viruses. Particular attention has been given to HSV-1 and HCMV infections. In this respect, the group was able to identify several new immune-escape mechanisms. For instance, the infection of DC with HSV-1 leads to a complete degradation of CD83 which correlates with a reduced immuno-stimulatory capacity of these infected DC. This degradation is mediated by the viral immediate early protein ICP0 and the cellular proteasome. The exact mechanism of this degradation is subject of current research. Interestingly, infection of mature DC with HCMV induced the shedding of a soluble CD83 molecule from the cell surface which has immune-suppressive activities. Moreover, it could be shown that the infection of mature DC with HSV-1 leads to an inhibition of STAT1 signaling, presumably via loss of the IFN?-receptor 1. Furthermore, the group is also interested in the replication of HSV-1 in mature DC. In contrast to earlier reports, recently the replication of HSV-1 in mature DC could be reported. Although this replication is very inefficient, it could very well be of biological importance in vivo, since progeny virus could be passed on to primary keratinocytes. During this cell-to-cell mediated infection, the viral glycoprotein gE plays a major role. An additional project deals with the HSV-1 mediated modulation of DC migration. It could be shown that HSV-1 interferes with the chemokine mediated DC-migration which is an absolutely essential step in order to induce potent antiviral immune responses.