The cytokine group focuses on the biological activities of cytokines in inflammatory and tumoral processes and on the characterization of the molecular mechanisms underlying these activities.
1. Biological activities of cytokines: We study the biology of Interleukin-9 (IL-9) and IL-22, two cytokines discovered at the de Duve Institute. IL-9 is a TH2 cytokine that plays a role in immune responses against intestinal parasites and asthma. This cytokines alos plays a role in lymphoma development. IL-22, originally identified as a gene induced by IL-9 in T lymphocytes, upregulates the production of acute phase reagents in the liver and plays an important role in inflammatory bowel diseases and in psoriasis. Its activity in inflammatory responses is modulated by a specific antagonist, the IL-22 binding protein (IL-22BP). The role of IL-9 and IL-22 in inflammation is currently being investigated using transgenic and gene-targeted mice for these cytokines and their receptors.
2. Signal transduction by cytokine receptors: We analyze the molecular mechanisms responsible for the activities of IL-9 and IL-22, which mainly involve the activation of the JAK/STAT pathway. Structure-function analyses, microarrays and other genetic approaches are used to identify the mediators of their various activities and to elucidate the mechanisms of cytokine signaling dysregulation in context of inflammatory and tumoral processes.
- Immunology, Cytokines and Hematology
- Signal transduction