B cell response at the mucosal interface
The focus of our lab is to understand how the immune system develops and functions at the mucosal interface.
In the human body the gastrointestinal tract hosts a large number of bacteria that play a critical role in providing essential nutrients and metabolites. The mucosal immune system must selectively remain tolerant to the symbiotic members of the intestinal bacteria (commensals), while simultaneously poised to respond to pathogenic species. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) represents the main antibody class secreted by B lymphocytes at the mucosal surfaces, and is critical in maintaining intestinal homeostasis: patients with specific inability to produce IgA suffer from an increased incidence of gastrointestinal diseases. The mechanisms by which IgAs maintain intestinal homeostasis remain unclear.
(i) Define the selection mechanisms for IgA maturation to assure intestinal homeostasis.
(ii) Decipher the metabolic requirements for mounting a mucosal immune response to commensals.
(iii) Characterize the cell-intrinsic and environmental cues required for the generation and maintenance of memory B cells at mucosal barriers.