Karin Pfisterer is RESEARCHER OF THE MONTH March 2015
Mag. Dr. Karin Pfisterer of the Molecular Immunology Unit of the Institute for Hygiene and Applied Immunology has been awarded the title "Researcher of the Month" March 2015 by the Medical University of Vienna.
The prize was dedicated to work performed by Karin Pfisterer as part of her diploma thesis in the lab of Prof. Dr. Adelheid Elbe-Bürger of the Division of Immunology, Allergy and Infectious Skin Diseases, Department of Dermatology (Medical University of Vienna). The manuscript entitled "CD90+ Human Dermal Stromal Cells are potent inducers of FoxP3+ Regulatory T Cells"  was published in January 2015 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Since 2011, Karin Pfisterer has been investigating molecular mechanisms of T cell responses in the Molecular Immunology Unit of the Institute for Hygiene and Applied Immunology, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology.
In September 2014, another manuscript was published in the Journal of Immunology based on work in the same Institute, entitled "The Late endosomal Transportation CD222 Directs the Spatial Distribution and Activity of Lck”.
In this study, which was supervised by Dr. Vladimir Leksa and Prof. Dr. Hannes Stockinger, Karin Pfisterer identified an important transport molecule, which is essential for the initiation of T cell responses by external stimuli. CD222, also known as the cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor, has been shown previously to traffic proteins to lysosomes that are destined for degradation.
The scientist showed that CD222 in T cells transports one of the most important signaling molecules called Lck to the plasma membrane and thus monitors its activity. Lck is one of the first molecules that starts the signal transduction cascade in T cells and thereby translates external stimuli into the interior of the cell ensuring adequate protein synthesis. If CD222 in not present in T cells, Lck will not be transported to the cell surface and thus can not interact with CD45, its main phosphatase, which has activating properties on Lck. As a result the secretion of cytokines is inhibited in CD222-deficient T cells. These T cells can no longer release the appropriate messengers for the control of external microorganisms.
The two studies led to a project performed in cooperation between Prof. Dr. Adelheid Elbe-Bürger and Prof. Dr. Hannes Stockinger. In this study specific T cells will be identified in human skin and analyzed for their functional behavior.
 Pfisterer K., Lipnik K.M., Hofer E., Elbe-Bürger A.: CD90+ Human Dermal Stromal Cells are Potent Inducers of FoxP3+ Regulatory T Cells. J Invest Dermatol, 2015 Jan;135(1):130-41
 Pfisterer K., Forster F., Paster W., Supper V., Ohradanova-Repic A., Eckerstorfer P., Zwirzitz A., Donner C., Boulegue C., Schiller H.B., Ondrovicova G., Acuto O., Stockinger H., Leksa V.: The Late Endosomal Transporter CD222 Directs the Spatial Distribution and Activity of Lck. J Immunol, 2014 Sep 15;193(6):2718-32
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