Human B cells and plasma cells in health and diseases
This project aims at investigating the biology and specificity of human memory B cells and plasma cells in health and disease. The first aim is to address the role of different subsets of memory B cells and plasma cells in the steady state and in the secondary antibody response and to identify the factors that determine plasma cell longevity. The second aim deals with the isolation of autoantibodies in different pathological conditions and their characterization as to the specificity, pathogenicity and origin. Finally a pilot project deals with the development of a novel approach to make antibodies against cancer and tissue cells and to attempts to generate a primary antibody response in vitro. The projects proposed are supported by preliminary data and will take advantage of novel high throughput methods that have been developed in our laboratory for the interrogation of the B cell response through immortalization of memory B cells or the culture of single plasma cells.