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MHC-independent T cell immunity and mycobacterial infection

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Prof.dr Willem van Eden and dr Ildiko van Rhijn

Mycobacteria cause common and deadly infectious diseases. Immunity against mycobacteria is incompletely understood and effective vaccines are not available. Our team is studying anti-mycobacterial immunity in humans and Bos taurus. Experiments with Mycobacterium bovis are being performed in collaboration with the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

In humans and cattle, non-MHC restricted T cells that recognize mycobacterial antigens, like gd T cells and CD1-restricted T cells, are involved in anti-mycobacterial immunity. Antigens presented by CD1 include lipid, glycolipid and lipopeptide antigens. Our research is aiming at obtaining basic insights in MHC independent T cell immunity and anti-mycobacterial immunity in natural infections in the natural host.

Ongoing projects, which also include projects that can be joined by undergraduate students are:
1. Development of detection methods of CD1-restricted T cells based on the use of recombinant CD1 proteins.
2. Isolation and characterization of antigenic lipids from Mycobacterium avium ssp paratuberculosis and M. bovis using T cell culture based read-out systems.
3. Determining the antigen specificity of T cells that we have isolated from different bovine tissues.
4. In collaboration with dr Ir. Lonneke Vervelde we are planning to identify avian invariant TCR using molecular techniques.
5. Cloning and characterization of bovine, non classical MHC antigen presenting molecules.

Molecular cloning, transfections, T cell culture, cytokine analysis assays (ELISA, Luminex, bioassays), FACS staining and sorting, protein expression and purification

3 or 9 months

Dr Ildiko van Rhijn, I.vanRhijn@uu.nl, 030 - 253 4608

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