Background and current state of research
The immune system is influenced by various factors. Not only genetic, but also environmental factors play an important role in modulating the immune repertoire of individuals. However, the extent and mechanisms through which these factors affect the communities of B and T cells remain largely unknown. Moreover we are not only interested in the presence of subpopulations, but also on diversity and changes during disease or diet.
The genetic and environmental causes for autoantibody production are still not well understood. To elucidate the pathogenic conditions and events that lead to autoantibody production, this project aims to dissect the immune repertoire of B and T cells in different developmental stages, in patients and controls. Next generation sequencing (NGS) helps to analyze DNA as well as RNA data, which is further processed with the IMGT/HighV-QUEST software. This tool identifies and analyzes the VDJ gene combination of each antibody sequence. The general aim of this project is to establish a pipeline for the statistical analysis and for data mining of immune repertoire data, and to apply it for the analysis of human and mice suffering from inflammatory disease or diet.