Division of Infection and Immunity


Dr Anne Pesenacker

Versus Arthritis Career Development Fellow


Research in the Pesenacker lab focuses on how regulatory T cell (Treg) function is controlled in health versus autoimmunity.

Research summary

CD4+ Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are crucial to maintain tolerance, balancing effector T cell responses to harmful agents and suppressing unwanted responses. However, too little control may lead to autoimmunity (e.g. juvenile idiopathic arthritis or type 1 diabetes), while too much control may contribute to the development of cancers. Co-stimulatory and co-inhibitory receptors are crucial to determine functional outcomes upon activation. We found an imbalance of co-receptor expression at the site of inflammation and mutations in co-receptor genes have been associated with autoimmunity.

We focus on the co-receptor family CD226, TIGIT and CD96; receptors highly expressed on Tregs but with little understanding of their function. We use cellular and molecular immunology techniques, including the cutting-edge gene-editing system CRISPR-Cas9, to elucidate the CD226, TIGIT and CD96 signalling, receptor-receptor and receptor-ligand interactions and study their role in primary human Treg function in health and disease.


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