Identification of the key regulators of plasma cell biology

Identification of the key regulators of plasma cell biology

Project details

The immune system protects us from microbial infection. The production of antibodies by plasma cells (PCs) is essential for protective immunity and is the basis for current vaccination strategies. Despite the importance of PCs our knowledge of how these cells are formed and how their long-term survival is maintained remains limited.

In a recent study we have identified the gene expression signature of PCs (Shi, Nature Immunology 2015). This project will use CRISPR-mediated genome editing to conduct a genetic screen to identify which components of the gene signature are essential for PC formation, survival and antibody secretion. The function of these genes will be further investigated using genomics techniques and cell culture, as well as vaccination and infection models.

About our research group 

Research in the Nutt laboratory aims to understand how immune cells make developmental decisions, and how the wrong choice impacts on the function of the immune system as a whole. We collaborate closely with many research groups, including the Tarlinton lab at Monash University.

One arm of our research focuses on the molecular mechanisms by which cells of the adaptive immune system (B and T cells) are programmed to respond to infection or vaccination to produce the appropriate antibody response. Of particular interest is the production and function of plasma cells and the factors that go awry in plasma cell diseases such as multiple myeloma and lupus. We use a combination of molecular, cellular and genetic studies to address these important questions for human health.


Professor David Tarlinton in the lab
Monash University

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