Memory T cell subsets in man and mouse: identification, characterization and function
The general aim of our project is to study effector and memory T lymphocytes, cells of the immune system that are generated in response to infectious pathogens and vaccination but that can also be generated in response to “self” structures, called autoantigens. These cells play an important role in protection but can also cause autoimmunity. We want to study the heterogeneity of effector and memory T cells, their functions, their role in the immune response and their differentiation from precursors, the so called naïve T cells. In the next three years we will focus on several open questions which will be addressed primarily in the human system and, when necessary, in experimental small animal models. These studies are expected to increase our understanding of effector and memory T cells in normal and pathological conditions and to provide relevant information for designing effective vaccines capable to elicit appropriate specific immune responses.