MHC Class I Immunity Group
Leader: Dr Bin Gao
The immune system works by recognising the presence of an invading organism. To distinguish between normal cells and invaded cells, immune cells, including Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte (CTL) and Natural Killer (NK) cell, keep checking an identity marker called Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I molecule on the surface of all nucleated cells. If cells are invaded by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, a piece of material from the invader will be loaded onto the MHC complex, the T cell will recognize this change and kill the host cells with pathogens. By contrast, if cells fail to express normal MHC on the surface, for example down-regulation by some viruses, or transformed cells, NK cells will be activated to attack them. However, in certain situations, CTL and NK are provoked against normal cells leading to autoimmune disease. The research in this group is focused on immune responses regulated by MHC class I-receptor interactions and the development of immune therapy based on such interactions. Particularly, the assembly of MHC class I molecules with peptides of invaders during antigen processing; the molecular basis of MHC class I-receptors interaction and identification of T cell epitope involved in MHC class I-receptor interaction and the exploitation of epitope knowledge for clinical application.
- MHC class I Antigen processing The intermediate products of the MHC class I complex during different stages of assembly are created and are used to investigate the optimal conditions for displaying peptide epitopes of interest.
- CTL based Vaccine and therapy We have developed a technology, based on peptide array, to identify T cell epitopes on a genomic scale. The technology is being further developed to form a micro-chip based, cost effective, high through-put platform. This system is used for the development of clinical testing, vaccines and immune therapy.
- T cell receptor re-directed killing We are transducing melanoma specific T cell receptor (TCR) genes into T cells to make a stable cell line expressing the desired TCR cells. Their ability to kill cells expressing related antigen and tumour cells is being investigated. The results of this project will enable us to apply TCR redirected T cell therapy in treating tumours and viral infections.
- Clinical Trials Group
- Immunopathogenesis Group
- Inflammatory Muscle Disease Group
- Molecular Rheumatology Group
- Vasculitis and Autoinflammation Group
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