B lymphocytes form an integral part of the immune system via the production of specific antibodies and by establishing immunological memory.
In the Lymphocyte Interaction Laboratory, we strive for a comprehensive understanding of the cellular and molecular events leading to B cell activation as well as elucidating how they differentiate into memory or antibody-producing cells. We address this by combining the power of genetics with biochemistry and advanced imaging technology. For instance, by tracking single particles of BCR we have previously shown that BCR diffusion is restricted by an ezrin-defined actin network, and that this restriction regulates receptor signalling. We have since explored this novel concept of signalling regulation in greater detail by implementing super-resolution microscopy methods.
As well as studying lymphocyte interactions at the micro- and nano-scale, we actively pursue the understanding of how, where and when B cells are activated in vivo. We have recently focused special attention on the importance of lymph node architecture: specifically, investigating B cell activation in a model of double infection. We have seen that the changes that occur in the structure of the inflammatory lymph node have a dramatic effect on the ability of B cells to respond to pathogens and suggest a potential mechanism for increased susceptibility to secondary infections.
Up-to-the-minute unpublished data from the group will be presented, adding to a body of work that shows how a clear understanding of lymphocyte interactions and signalling has wide-ranging implications for the study of cancer and infectious disease.