Microbiology & Immunology Cross Appointed Faculty
Anthony J. Infante, M.D., Ph.D.
Thymus-derived lymphocytes (T cells) are critical regulatory cells in immune reactions. Using specific T-cell receptor (TCR) molecules, T cells recognize fragments of foreign antigen complexed with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules on the surface of antigen presenting cells (APC). I. The ability to distinguish foreign antigens from self antigens depends on the expression of specific TCR and MHC molecules and the processing of antigens into fragments. Failure to distinguish self from "non-self" results in autoimmune disease. We are examining the mechanisms of susceptibility and resistance to the autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis (MG). T cells from MG patients and from an animal model of MG are being studied. II. Genes encoding TCR molecules are formed from smaller V, D and J segments through an ordered rearrangement process. The total repertoire of available TCRs is constrained by these processes and is developmentally regulated. We are studying this developmental regulation in normal human infants compared to infants with defects in thymic development (DiGeorge syndrome) and stem cell maturation (SCID).
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