B cell activation is triggered by antigen recognition through the B cell receptor (BCR). It has been evidently shown that the antigen encountered in vivo by B cells is mainly membrane-bound. However, the molecular events involved in the process of recognition are not yet undertaken. Dr. Batista’s lab has very recently shown that macrophages collect and concentrate particulate antigen at the lymph node, where it is then encountered and acquired by follicular B cells. So, the principal aim of this proposal is to investigate and define the molecular mechanisms that govern this novel way of antigen presentation to B cells, mediated by macrophages at the spleen and lymph node. To carry this out, we propose to investigate the macrophage membrane proteins involved in the antigen presentation, such as mannose receptor or SIGNR1 (murine homologue to DC-SIGN) and complement. These studies are likely to shed light into how B cell responses are initiated which direct implications in vaccine design and autoimmunity.
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