B lymphocytes and antibody productionManz Lab Member
The research group focuses on terminal differentiation of B lymphocytes into plasma cells and the role of these cells in inflammatory diseases. Through the secretion of antibodies, plasma cells provide the humoral arm of the adaptive immune system, including the formation of long-term memory. In addition, there is accumulating evidence that B lymphocytes and plasma cells resemble important sources of cytokines, thereby considerably contributing to the control of innate and adaptive immune reactions. Through these functions, B lineage cells are important mediators of immune protection but resemble also important players in in autoimmune and allergic diseases.
We have previously identified long-lived plasma cells as the primary source of protective, but also of auto-reactive memory antibodies. Moreover, we have shown that these cells produce autoantibodies refractory to conventional therapeutic treatment and that their interaction with their microenvironment plays an important role in the regulation of antibody responses and in providing environmental-induced drug resistance. In addition, we found that plasma cells can inhibit innate effector functions and autoimmune inflammation through production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10.
Currently, we investigate the cellular, molecular and metabolic basis of B lymphocyte differentiation into antibody-secreting plasma cells, the production of IL-10 and allergy mediating antibodies of the IgE subclass. Our goal is to develop the basis of new therapeutic approaches to modulate B lymphocytes in inflammatory and neoplastic diseases.