Encephalitis, Tick-Borne; Epitope Mapping; Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte; Flavivirus Infections; Immunodominant Epitopes; Yellow Fever Vaccine; Yellow fever virus
Our main research focus is to understand the mechanisms of protective immunity against flaviviruses. We study the virus-specific immune responses with a special emphasis on the fine-specificities of CD4 T helper cells that recognize epitopes in the viral structural proteins and thus can provide direct help to B cells producing neutralizing and protective antibodies. Based on the known crystallographic structures of flavivirus proteins, immunodominant regions of T cell epitopes have been mapped to specific structural domains in the context of human infections as well as vaccination with different flavivirus vaccines. The results will provide insights into incompletely understood aspects of human T cell responses that contribute to protective immunity against emerging flavivirus pathogens.
Techniques, methods & infrastructure
CD4 T cell epitope mapping, analyses of immunodominant epitopes in the context of the three-dimensional structures of flavivirus proteins, class II allele-specific affinity predictions and informatics-based approaches as well as in vitro T cell activation assays using structurally defined antigen preparations.