Jens Volker Stein
PER 09 - 1.120
+41 26 300 8602
The adaptive immune system protects us from harmful microbial infections and cancer, while providing life-long immunity after vaccination. To accomplish this extraordinary feat, cellular components of the immune system, T and B cells, continuously interact with antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in lymphoid organs. A well-studied example are naïve CD8+ T cells interactions with dendritic cells (DCs), the most powerful APCs for this subset. This leads to CD8+ T cell activation, differentiation to cytotoxic effector cells and invasion of infected organs. This process contributes decisively to elimination of intracellular pathogens such as viruses, as well as tumor cells. After clearing of a pathogen, memory CD8+ T cells patrol the body to protect from reinfection. While the general principle of such adaptive immune responses is well established, little is known on how this dynamic process unfolds on a single cell level in the context of tissue-derived environmental cues.
Our laboratory is combining multiple platforms including multicolor flow cytometry, functional in vitro assays and high-end microscopy to “shed light” on the molecular and cellular processes that govern adaptive immune responses mediated by cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. We follow three lines of investigation:
The combination of these approaches permits to obtain unprecedented insight into the dynamic nature of the adaptive immune system on a single cell level.