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Anna Bas Forsberg Research Group

Exploring the butyrophilin-like (Btnl) family of candidate immune regulators
 

Contact Information | List of Publications

More than 50% of our immune system is located in the gut. The intestinal epithelium, which forms an interface between the organism and environment, harbors intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) which are mostly T cells with an unique cellular composition and development compared to other T cells in the body. The epithelial cells and the IEL represent an important barrier in the prevention of infection against orally acquired pathogens and thus, are critical effector component of mucosal immunity. The understanding of IEL function and their interaction, and the consequence of such interaction, with the epithelial cells is however still limited. For many years, body surface epithelia was viewed to primarily contribute to host protection through its physicochemical barrier functions, however there is emerging evidence that epithelial cells are able to stimulate IEL and hence to regulate immune responses. This notwithstanding, few molecules used by epithelial cells to instruct immune cells in the intestine have been identified. Defining the interactions involved in the epithelial cell – IEL cross-talk is crucial, not only to improve our understanding of the biology of T cells that reside in intestinal mucosa, but also to give new insights into the immune activation and perhaps more importantly, into immune dysregulation in infectious or autoimmune stress in the gut.

Localization of Btnl1 (red) in murine small intestine (left hand panel). Sections stained for Btnl1 (red) and CD3 (green) indicate close IEL-Btnl1 interaction, exemplified by arrows (right hand panel)

The overall aim of our research is to characterize and understand the function of epithelial determinants that modulate immune responses of intestinal IEL and thus, to identify new molecular interactions involved in the IEL – epithelial cell cross-talk. Our study focuses on novel immunoglobulin-like molecules, known as butyrophilin-like (Btnl) proteins, that are highly expressed by gut epithelial cells, and that by various criteria seem strong candidates for encoding novel immune regulators in the gut.

Further information:

MIVAC
 

 

Group members

Group leader:
Anna Bas Forsberg
, Assistant Professor, Ph.D

Cristina Lebrero Fernandez, Ph.D. student

Sidansvarig: Dan Baeckström|Sidan uppdaterades: 2016-10-25
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