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Third-party-funded project

The role of the innate immune response (activation of dendritic cells and γ/δ T cells) in aberrant immune reactions during acute viral infections of infants and children

Project management at the University of Würzburg:

Participating scientists:

Activation of innate immunity is essential for induction of adaptive immune responses. Particularly for the control of bacterial infections, the contribution of components of the innate immune system, such as γ/δ T cells and professional antigen presenting cells (APC) (including macrophages and dendritic cells, DC) is well established. Professional APC express Toll-like receptors (TLR) which trigger the induction of proinflammatory cytokines or monokines. There is ample evidence that viruses causing acute diseases in infants such as measles virus (MV) are effective in initiating virusspecific immune responses, but also lead to a suppression of T cell responses to environmental (opportunistic) pathogens. Whether and how these viruses modulate the activation of the innate immune responses, particularly γ/δ T cells and APC, is unknown. The recent finding that a viral surface protein triggers APC activation by interacting with a member of the TLR family suggests that other viruses might also use this strategy. Based on these considerations, this project aims to investigate the interactions of viruses with components of the innate immune system directly in serial probes of clinical material. Based on the long-standing experience of the grant applicants and the clinical importance of aberrant immune responses induced by this particular virus, our initial focus will be to study the modulation of APC and γ/δ T cell responses by MV. Later, we plan to extend these studies to other viruses causing acute infections in children such as mumpsvirus, rubellavirus, varicella-zoster-virus and enterovirus.The final goal of this research project is to come to a better understanding of how these viruses initiate protective immune responses, but also lead to the induction of aberrant immune responses to environmental (opportunistic) pathogens.

Key words:
    viral infection
    γ /δ T cell activation
    Toll-like receptors

Projekt period: from 05.2002 to 04.2004

Funding institution:
Landeshaushalt Wissenschaftsministerium ,Granting date: 28.03.2002