Dendritic cells and macrophage biology

Dendritic cells (DC) are a heterogeneous family of cells composed of different subsets with specialized functions. Conventional DC (cDC) are professional antigen presenting cells and responsible for induction of naïve T-cell responses. They are composed of two subsets, cDC1 being particular potent at inducing MHC class I-restricted T cell responses and cDC2 specialized for presentation through MHC class II. Plasmacytoid DC (pDC) are specialized in production of interferon type I in response to nucleic acid, in particular during virus infections. This functional classification of DC subsets is established in the mouse and it is now clear that species-specific differences can be found. Therefore, one of our main interest is the identification and functional characterization of dendritic cells in veterinary animals. Therein, we have a particular interest for the pDC population and investigate their interaction with various viruses, the pathways of activation and their role in the immune response.

Another long-standing focus in our lab is macrophage-virus interactions in the context of macrophage-tropic virus infections. We are interested to understand how macrophages are modulated by various factors such as cytokines, tissue environment and metabolites, and how they interact with other cells of the immune system.

Funding:

  • Swiss National Science Foundation SNF 310030_141045: Pathogenesis of classical swine fever virus infections: understanding the virus- and host-dependent virulence factors.
  • Animal Health and Welfare ERA-Net (ANIHWA): Control of highly virulent/pathogenic European porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome viruses. https://www.anihwa-submission-era.net/killleuprrsv