LMCB - Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

Sophie Acton's picture

LMCB Junior Group Leader, Cancer Research UK Fellow

+44 (0)20  3108 1348
LMCB Room 3.01

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Stromal immunology

Research synopsis

Our interests lie in the communication between different cell types of the immune system, specifically the mechanisms controlling cellular trafficking, multicellular organization and lymphoid organ architecture.

The lymph node is a highly organized and tightly controlled environment. The dynamic nature of lymph node swelling and contraction is critical to all immune responses and is not well understood. 

We want to understand the processes involved in lymph node swelling/expansion, and how the interplay between immune cells and non-haematopeotic stromal cells is key to this process. By studying lymph node-dynamics we can learn about the control of immune responses. In addition, the lymph node as an experimental model is hugely relevant to the interplay between immune cells and stroma in settings such as tumours.

There are many parallels in the function of fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) of lymphoid tissues and tumour-associated fibroblasts. Taking lessons from the cell-cell interactions in the lymph node may provide novel avenues for tumour immunotherapy.


Selected publications

Acton SE, et al (2016). Dendritic cells in remodeling of lymph nodes during immune responses. Immunological reviews, 271 (1), 221-229. doi:10.1111/imr.12414 Acton SE, et al (2014). Dendritic cells control fibroblastic reticular network tension and lymph node expansion. Nature, 514 (7523), 498-502. doi:10.1038/nature13814 Acton SE, et al (2012). Podoplanin-rich stromal networks induce dendritic cell motility via activation of the C-type lectin receptor CLEC-2. Immunity, 37 (2), 276-289. doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2012.05.022 Fletcher AL, et al (2015). Lymph node fibroblastic reticular cells in health and disease. Nature Reviews Immunology, 15 (6), 350-361. doi:10.1038/nri3846

About the lab


Medical Research Council
Cancer Research UK
European Research Council

Research themes

Cytoskeleton and cell cortex
Polarity and cell shape
Signalling pathways
Cell-cell interactions
Cell migration
Tissue remodeling


Light microscopy
2-Photon microscopy
Flow cytometry


Spyridon Makris (Research Associate)
Yukti Hari Gupta (Research Associate)
Christa Benjamin (Research Assistant, CRUK)
Callum Foakes, PhD Student


Chris Stefan (LMCB, UK)
Yanlan Mao (LMCB, UK)
Alison Lloyd (LMCB, UK)
Buzz Baum (MRC LMB, UK)
Ricardo Henriques (IGC, Portugal)
Steve Watson (University of Birmingham, UK)
Chris Tape (Institute of Cancer Research, UK)
Mark Coles (University of York, UK)