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Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Istituto di Ricerca in Biomedicina

Via Vincenzo Vela 6 - CH-6500 Bellinzona
Tel. +41 91 820 0300 - Fax +41 91 820 0302 - info [at] irb [dot] usi [dot] ch

Deciphering the class and specificity of the T cell response to C. albicans

Research area: Cellular Immunology

Group leaders: Federica Sallusto

Researchers:

  • Laurent Perez, Scientist, Responsible for the protein production Facility

Status: In progress

From the immune system point of view, microbes (pathogens or commensals) are complex antigens that occupy distinct niches and consequently trigger different types of immune responses. The complexity of the microbial proteome, in particular that of bacteria and fungi, represents a considerable challenge to our capacity to analyse the human T cell response. We are using complementary approaches in order to study the human T cell response to Candida albicans and to identify immunodominant and protective antigens. On the one hand, we are performing a wide screening of HLA-binding peptides, identified through bioinformatic analysis, from 80 fungal proteins belonging to different classes for their capacity to be recognized by different memory T cell subsets. On the other hand, we isolate and identify proteins contained in cell wall extracts that are recognized by human IL-17-producing memory T cells (Th17) and that induce strong immune responses when used as vaccines in mice. These studies are expected to improve our understanding of the immune response to complex pathogens, to define the correlation between class of antigens and type of T cell response elicited, and, finally, to provide useful information for the design of subunit vaccines against C. albicans.

This work is done in collaboration with Alessandro Sette, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, CA (US) and Nico Callewaert, Ghent University (BE).