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CD4+ T cells contribute to immunological protection and pathology in response to infectious diseases and allergy. After an immune response is initiated by activation of a naive T cell through its T cell receptor binding a specific peptide: MHC ligand on an antigen presenting cell, CD4+ T cells can differentiate into various functionally defined subsets. Each of these subsets has its own arsenal of antimicrobial weapons or regulatory functions that are induced by the expression of one or more master transcription factors. As an immune response subsides, some of the CD4+ T cells survive to become "memory" T cells with the capacity to fend off pathogens better than their naive counterparts. In the Pepper lab, we study how CD4+ T cells differentiate into memory cells and how the resulting memory populations function in both infectious disease and allergic responses by tracking and manipulating antigen-specific immune responses using MHC Class II tetramers. We focus on the CD4+ T cell response to various pathogens from vaccine strains of bacteria (attenuated Listeria) to complex parasitic infections (Plasmodium and Toxoplasma) and allergens (house dust mites). The overarching aim of the lab is to generate the knowledge necessary to inform better vaccine and therapeutic design.
Copyright © 2003-2013 Molecular & Cellular Biology Program, University of Washington
Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center | University of Washington
Institute for Systems Biology | Seattle Biomed