About the SFB
T lymphocytes are at the center of the immune defense, but also cause immune-mediated disease. Although autoimmunity, allergy, tumours and chronic infections affect a significant percentage of the world population, the reasons for the divergent roles of T cells are largely unknown. The interplay between antigen presenting cells and T cells determines the outcome and quality of adaptive immunity. The emergence of functionally divergent T and dendritic cell subsets is a hallmark of adaptive immunity, but we are only beginning to understand the developmental pathways and signals controlling these cell-fate decisions. These cells preserve a high degree of plasticity to adjust their functional programs to novel contexts, but the driving forces and signals for their differentiation are largely unknown.
CRC 1054 will explore control and plasticity of cell-fate decisions in the immune system, identify input signals that determine stability and flexibility of differentiation, and characterize the molecular basis for how these signals are decoded.
The long-term research goal of this CRC 1054 is to identify targets that allow the control of immune cell differentiation for specific therapeutic manipulation. Thus the findings from this CRC will ultimately be used to exploit plasticity of immune cell-fate decisions for optimizing vaccination strategies, resuscitating exhausted T cells in chronic infections and the reverting cell-fate decisions for the treatment of allergy, autoimmunity and cancer.