Shinya Sakaguchi was awarded the Sanofi-aventis Prize 2011
Shinya Sakaguchi was awarded the Sanofi-aventis Prize on November 21, 2011
Dr. Shinya Sakaguchi from the Division of Immunobiology (Prof. Wilfried Ellmeier), Institute of Immunology, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology was awarded the Sanofi-aventis Prize 2011 for his recent publication in a top journal Nature Immunology. T cells play an essential role in the acquired immune system, and they are mainly subdivided into two functionally distinct populations: helper- and cytotoxic-T cells. Although it is known that these two subsets of T cells are differentiated from common progenitors in thymus, the underlying mechanisms for this process are only partially known. In this study, by using genetic approaches Dr. Sakaguchi found that the transcription factor MAZR (Myc-associated zinc finger-related factor) plays an important role during cytotoxic T cell differentiation. After conducting many experiments he concluded that MAZR is part of transcription factor network controlling helper- versus cyototoxic-T cell fate decision. His achievement significantly advances our understanding of immune cell differentiation at a molecular level. Reference: Sakaguchi S, Hombauer M, Bilic I, Naoe Y, Schebesta A, Taniuchi I, Ellmeier W. (2010). The zinc-finger protein MAZR is part of the transcription factor network that controls the CD4 versus CD8 lineage fate of double-positive thymocytes. Nature Immunol. 11:442-8.
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