on January 9, 2020
A collaborative Swiss-German project between the IRB laboratory of Dr. Silvia Monticelli and the lab of Prof. Vigo Heissmeyer (Ludwig Maximilian University and Helmholtz Zentrum, Münich, Germany) recently received support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG) to study the role of RNA-binding proteins in regulating immune cell functions.
Initially thought to be a passive process, the resolution of inflammatory responses to an invading pathogen or noxious agent is now understood to be actively controlled, involving the upregulation of pathways with anti-inflammatory and reparatory functions, including anti-inflammatory cytokines and inhibitory molecules and enzymes. Defects in these regulatory pathways can lead to chronic inflammatory processes. Despite their importance in maintaining immune homeostasis, the mechanisms that restrain or dampen inflammatory responses in T lymphocytes are not completely understood. Several RNA-binding proteins have been shown to modulate immune responses, but their mechanism of action and regulation remain to be fully understood. This 3-year project will allow us to determine the importance of RNA-binding proteins in T lymphocytes, and to address a long-standing question in the field, namely to what extent different RNA-binding proteins of the same family have unique and/ or redundant functions.
Having the opportunity to combine the extensive knowledge in immunology present at the IRB, together with the long-standing expertise in the field of RNA-binding proteins provided by the lab of Prof. Heissmeyer will allow us to unravel general paradigms linking RNA-binding proteins expression to the regulation of complex cellular responses to environmental cues in T lymphocytes.