Priority Research Area Chronic Lung Diseases

Immunology and Cell Biology

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Mission

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Silke Meiners
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Silke Meiners
04537 / 188-5846
 
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The regulation of lung specific immune reactions is the main research topic in our group. Detailed knowledge on immune signaling and its dysregulation in pulmonary diseases is a prerequisite to identify new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of chronic and acute lung diseases and allergy. Our research focusses in particular on the regulation of intracellular protein degradation by the immunoproteasome and on membrane signaling by tetraspanins in lymphocates and mast cells.

 

Immunoproteasome research (Meiners lab)

One research focus is on the immunoproteasome, a specialized type of proteasome in immune cells. It is constitutive for immune cells but inducible in non-immune cells and plays a key role in regulating immune and stress responses. The function of mixed types of proteasomes is not well understood.

Our research aims to elucidate the role of the immunoproteasome for immune cell function and its dysregulation in disease. Currently, we are establishing novel transgenic animal models for immunoproteasome-related research which we will use for validation of specific immunoproteasome inhibitors as a new treatment approach for inflammatory and chronic diseases. For clinical studies, we have established proteasome activity profiling in peripheral blood cells to screen large patient or population-based cohorts for altered proteasome activities.

 

Cell signaling (Orinska lab)

Our focus is the regulation of B cell and mast cell (MC) function and their role in immune response in physiological settings and chronic lung diseases (CLDs). Specifically, we would like to understand how membrane proteins of the tetraspanin family are involved in the regulation of immune cell function and whether/how targeting of tetraspanins would be applicable for treatment of CLD. By using different genetic mouse models and antibody-mediated tetraspanin targeting we are characterizing cell type-specific tetraspanin interaction partners and tetraspanin function.