Innate Immunity

Research into "innate" mechanisms of immunity to infection has been one of immunology’s most rapidly advancing fields in the past decade. These advances led to an appreciation that inappropriate activation of innate immunity may cause chronic degenerative conditions (e.g. Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis), which affect so much of the developed world.

UCL has a distinguished presence in the field of innate immunity, with a strong focus on the frontier between experimental science and clinical medicine. Prof. Tony Segal FRS has pioneered the biochemical analysis of granulocytes, unravelling the mechanism whereby these cells kill bacteria shedding new light on the molecular pathobiology of Chronic Granulomatous Disease. These advances are now being converted into potential treatment therapies via application of gene therapy technology.

Prof. Mark Pepys FRS is an international leader in the study of amyloid, pathological protein deposits which are a common feature of chronic innate immune activation. A recent Wellcome Trust grant to Prof. Pepys allows him to develop novel drugs designed to block amyloid formation.

UCL Immunology also has an established research programme in the area of dendritic cells (Prof. Reis e Sousa, Cancer Research UK, Prof. Benny Chain, Prof. David Katz). These cells act as natural essential adjuvants for immune responses, a property being exploited at UCL for the development of cancer immunotherapy. The interaction between dendritic cells and viruses links with members of the MRC Centre for Molecular Clinical Virology. Chemokine and cytokine biology, and their relationship to inflammation and cancer, are also strong related areas of research (Dr. Jurgen Roes, Prof. Frances Balkwell, CRUK).

Innate immunity is also one of the fastest growing areas within UCL’s immunology centre, including Prof. Greg Towers (Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow, intracellular barriers to viral replication), Dr. Richard Jenner (MRC Fellow, HIV and Human Gene Regulation) and Dr. Mahdad Noursadeghi (Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellow, bacterial infection and HIV).

More about research publications on the UCL Publications Database.

A selection of some recent papers published by the group is given below:

Segal AW. How neutrophils kill microbes. Annu Rev Immunol. 2005;23:197-223.

Pepys MB, Hirschfield GM, Tennent GA, Gallimore JR, Kahan MC, Bellotti V, Hawkins PN, Myers RM, Smith MD, Polara A, Cobb AJ, Ley SV, Aquilina JA, Robinson CV, Sharif I, Gray GA, Sabin CA, Jenvey MC, Kolstoe SE, Thompson D, Wood SP. Targeting C-reactive protein for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Nature. 2006 Apr 27;440(7088):1217-21.

LeibundGut-Landmann S, Gross O, Robinson MJ, Osorio F, Slack EC, Tsoni SV, Schweighoffer E, Tybulewicz V, Brown GD, Ruland J, Reis e Sousa C.  Syk- and CARD9-dependent coupling of innate immunity to the induction of T helper cells that produce interleukin 17. Nat Immunol. 2007 Jun;8(6):630-8.

Newton PJ, Weller IV, Williams IG, Miller RF, Copas A, Tedder RS, Katz Dr, Chain BM. Monocyte derived dendritic cells from HIV-1 infected individuals partially reconstitute CD4 T-cell responses. AIDS. 2006 Jan 9;20(2):171-80.

Lawrence T, Hageman T, Balkwill F. Cancer. Sex, cytokines, and cancer. Science. 2007 Jul 6;317(5834):51-2.

Keckesova Z, Ylinen LM, Towers GJ. The human and African green monkey TRIM5alpha genes encode Ref1 and Lv1 retroviral restriction factor activities. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jul 20;101(29):10780-5.

Jenner RG, Young RA. Insights into host responses against pathogens from transcriptional profiling. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Apr;3(4):281-94.

Page last modified on 07 oct 09 16:09 by Karen Rumsey