Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Mainz University involved in new DFG Collaborative Research Center in the field of immune responses

T cells play a very important role as part of the immune system. The various types of T cells have different tasks within the immune response.

If this defense system fails, conditions such as allergies and autoimmune diseases can develop. The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG) has now approved a research application submitted by laboratories in Würzburg, Berlin and Mainz, the purpose of which is to investigate how genetic control determines the development and function of the various T cells.

"We want to find out how the individual T cells function and how their genetic regulation can be directly influenced, so that new therapy methods can ultimately be developed," explains Prof. Edgar Schmitt of the Institute of Immunology at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. The DFG has initiated the new Collaborative Research Center Transregio 52 "Transcriptional Programming of Individual T Cell Subsets" on 1 July 2008 and will be making available about € 12 million over the next four years.

T cells are white blood cells formed in the bone marrow that mature in the thymus. They can recognise invading exogenous organisms and substances and then provide a defensive response in many forms, while at the same time a specialized T cell population actively prevents any auto-aggressive immune reaction against the body's own cells.

... more about:
»Collaborative »DFG »T cells »immune »regulatory

These so-called physiological regulatory T cells have been extensively studied by Edgar Schmitt's team. "We shall be using the Transregio Collaborative Research Center to investigate how a specialized T cell develops and how it functions. In Mainz, we will be taking a closer look at the regulatory T cells, but all subpopulations of T cells will be investigated jointly with the other sites," says Schmitt. The focus is on the exact way in which the genetic information is regulated to enable these cells to systematically to carry out their functions.

If this can be established, it would be possible, for example, to switch off auto-aggressive T cells, and to influence other regulatory cells in such a way that autoimmune diseases could be prevented. "Based on our initial data, we have already been able to outline therapeutic approaches that will have a targeted effect on asthmatic diseases," explains Schmitt.

Investigations conducted by his team have shown that cyclical adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) is essential to the suppressive properties of physiological regulatory T cells. These cells have high concentrations of cAMP, and they transmit it to target cells via channels - the so-called 'gap junctions'. "As a result, these target cells are extensively inhibited and can therefore not act as central drivers of an auto-aggressive or allergic immune response such as asthma."

Schmitt and his colleagues have discovered that the so-called phosphodiesterases (PDEs) antagonize this suppression. These enzymes break down cAMP and therefore counteract inhibition by the regulatory T cells. "We were thus able to achieve a significant alleviation of asthma by systematically inhibiting these PDEs in the mouse model."

The scientists involved hope that the increase and concentration of scientific research in Germany concerning the transcriptional control of the genetic expression of T lymphocytes will contribute towards the discovery of the central trigger points of the immune reaction. The most important factors in the transcriptional control of T cells are to be identified and their function is to be decoded in in vivo mouse models, while methods of achieving targeted modulation of the transcription process are also to be researched. The institutions in Würzburg, Mainz and Berlin, with their varied expertise, will concentrate here on the cellular and molecular biological aspects of T cell biology.

Several institutions and researchers in Mainz are involved in this project: Dr Sabine Ohlemacher and HD Dr Helmut Jonuleit (dermatology), PD Dr Kerstin Steinbrink (dermatology), Prof. Susetta Finotto (1st Medical Clinic), Prof. Ari Waisman (1st Medical Clinic), HD Dr Kurt Reifenberg (Central Laboratory Animal Facility - CLAF), Dr Jürgen Siebler and Prof. Markus Neurath (1st Medical Clinic), as well as Dr Tobias Bopp and Prof. Edgar Schmitt (Institute for Immunology).

The spokesperson for the Transregio 52 Collaborative Research Center is Prof. Edgar Serfling (Pathological Institute, University of Würzburg), with Prof. Richard Kroczek (Robert Koch Institute, Berlin) and Prof. Edgar Schmitt at the University of Mainz as deputy spokespersons.

Prof. Dr. Edgar Schmitt | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: Collaborative DFG T cells immune regulatory

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>