Studying immune responses “one cell at a time”

Published on January 31, 2023   48 min

Other Talks in the Series: The Immune System - Key Concepts and Questions

Other Talks in the Series: Periodic Reports: Advances in Clinical Interventions and Research Platforms

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First of all, I would like to thank the organizers for choosing me and inviting me to participate in the HSTalks lecture series. This is a great honor for me. My name is Farzin Mashreghi and I lead the therapeutic gene regulation group at the German Rheumatism Research Centre in Berlin. In this role, I am applying state of the art single-cell technologies to decipher potentially disregulated adaptive immune responses in usually chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases.
I have chosen an example project for this lecture today in which we unveiled the role of the cytokine host factor TGF-Beta in the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19. Here, we use the very sophisticated sorting and single cell sequencing approach in which we studied immune responses longitudinally after SARS COVID-2 infection. We studied that in a way that we analyze one cell at a time.
Understanding how our immune system functions is difficult because of the many different cell types and biomolecules involved and because of its extremely dynamic nature. It is in constant co-evolution with pathogens and must respond rapidly and specifically in each individual to a vast variety of potential threats. We have more than 100 immune cell subsets expressing more than 100 cytokines and chemokines, more than 350 surface proteins, and more than 1,000 genes in different constellations. To make it even more complicated, T and B cells of the adaptive immune system express more than 10 million different antigen receptors. These immune cells also interact in different constellations. Conventional analysis, for example flow cytometry based analysis, is very biased and limited to the availability of specific antibodies and reagents.

Studying immune responses “one cell at a time”

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