Non-Communicable Diseases

Immunology

Two groups in Trieste and two in New Delhi study the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the immune response to pathogens and cancer. In Trieste, the activities of the Molecular Immunology Group (Burrone) involve developmentof new routes of vaccinations and their utilisation for immunisation against breast cancer and dengue virus infection, while the Cellular Immunology Group

(Benvenuti) pursues the identification of mechanisms that regulate innate and adaptive functions of dendritic cells during priming of T cell immunity. In New Delhi, the Structural Immunology Group (Salunke) studies the determinants for antibody-antigen interaction during the primary immune response at the structural level, while the Cellular Immunology Group (Kumar) investigates the host-pathogen interactions occurring during infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Highlights

A very exciting study from the Cellular Immunology Group in Trieste defined how dendritic cell activity is modulated by lactate in the tumour microenvironment (Caronni et al., Cancer Res., 2018, in press). This has important consequences for how the modulation of dendritic cell function can be improved in future cancer therapeutic approaches. The Structural Immunology Group in New Delhi made great strides in understanding the structural basis for how a non-canonical protease, derived from a tropical medicinal plant, can exert anti-snake venom activity, and has great relevance for the development of novel anti-venom treatments (Kumar et al., 2018, Sci Rep., 8, 689). The Cellular Immunology Group in New Delhi made a seminal series of observations on how infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis can alter alternative splicing in macrophages, thereby providing an attractive alternative for the development of novel drugs against Tuberculosis infection (Kalam et al., 2017, PLoS Pathogen. 13, e1006236).