Diseases caused by intracellular protozoan parasites that cause malaria and leishmaniasis require the generation of CD4+ T (Th1) cells that produce pro-inflammatory cytokines. These molecules stimulate dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages to expand CD4+ T cell responses and activate phagocytes to kill captured or resident pathogens. However, the inflammatory cytokines produced by Th1 cells also damage tissues, and as such, need to be tightly regulated. A downside of this regulation is that it can allow parasites to persist and cause disease. We identified unique gene signatures associated with regulatory CD4+ T cell subsets and will test if molecules associated with these signatures can be manipulated to improve responses to drug treatment and/or vaccines.
Professor Christian Engwerda | email@example.com