A Message from Dr. Mark Soloski:
My group has been focused on the study of a novel family of conserved class I histocompatibility proteins termed class Ib molecules. Studies from our laboratory and others have shown that class Ib molecules can function to present peptide epitopes to T cells. Several class Ib molecules have been implicated in the immune response to intracellular bacterial pathogens and mouse/human counterparts have been identified. This information indicates that class Ib molecules have evolved to play key roles in the immune recognition. As part of our overall objective to understand the basic immunobiology of class Ib molecules, we have generated a new murine transgenic model for the analysis of mouse (and human) class Ib function. This model will allow the definition of the role for class Ib molecules in the selection and function of T cells and allow us to examine the range of pathogens for which class Ib molecules play a role in immune recognition.
A second area of interest in our laboratory is the role of cellular elements of the immune response in controlling infection with gram-negative bacterial pathogens such as Salmonella typhimurium. This interest is driven not only because these bacteria cause significant acute disease but also due to the etiological link between infection with Salmonella and related species with the development of chronic autoimmune disease. We have recently focused our attention on the role of the intestinal mucosal immune compartment in controlling oral infection. This effort has identified a new unrecognized MHC class Ib-dependent subset of T cells residing within the epithelial barrier that expands following infection. Current efforts are focused on understanding the recognition properties and effector function of this T cell subset and determining if an analogous population exists in the human mucosa.
Lastly, we have initiated a proteomics based approach to identify autoimmune targets in the seronegative spondyloarthropathies, a set of rheumatological diseases for which we have little information as to the antigens that are involved in the initiation and/or progression of disease. It is our hypothesis that the identification of such targets will not only provide needed disease associated biomarkers, but also yield insights in to the pathophysiology of disease.
Research Postdoctoral Fellows
Alicia Rodriguez-Pla, MD, Ph.D.
Dr Rodriquez-Pla has an interest in Giant Cell Arteritis. Her efforts are focused on the identification of susceptibility genes and immune targets in this disease.
Sergio Lopez-Briones, Ph.D.
Dr Lopez-Briones has been investigating the mucosal immune response to infection with Salmonella typhimurium. His work has defined a novel T cell subset in mucosal compartment and he is addressing its functional and its recognition properties.
T cells are is a major lymphocyte population in the most epithelial compartments. Desire’s efforts will address how these cells, positioned as early responders to enteric infection, can influence the subsequent adaptive immune response.
MHC class Ib molecules have been shown to be novel recognition elements in the innate and adaptive immune response. Kasra’s efforts are focused on the structure of MHC class Ib molecules with a particular emphasis on the mechanisms by which they bind peptide and serve as ligands for immune receptors.