Molecular Immunology Unit Dr. Vladimir Leksa (group leader)
For properly working physiological processes well-balanced cellular responses are required. This includes mutual interactions of soluble factors, cell surface receptors and intracellular signalling molecules. The loss of control over these interactions leads to various impairments and pathological circumstances, e.g. tumorigenesis or inflammat ory disorders.
In particular, immune cells of both adaptive and innate branches of immune system, such as T cells, B cells, macrophages or dendritic cells, are constantly exposed to an array of stimuli; they must distinguish between self and non-self, danger and normal, what has to be tolerated and what attacked. Many molecular pathways are involved in this labor.
We in our laboratory study the spatial and temporal organization of cellular receptors, their ligands, and associated signalling molecules in controlling immunity. Our research interest is focused on molecules underlying control devices in protein transpo t. Our up-to-now data strongly indicate a regulatory function of the mannose 6-phosphate/insulin-like growth factor 2 receptor (CD222) in various cellular functions including proteolysis, cell migration, signal transduction, or endocytosis. Our goal is to decipher the role of this specific endosomal transporter, and protein trafficking in general, in immune responses in health and disease. Our major objective is to provide pharmacological tools to modulate these responses. Our laboratory closely collaborates with Molecular Immunology Unit in the Institute for Hygiene and Applied Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna Medical University.