Janssens team - Immunoregulation and Mucosal Immunology

Research field: The role of the unfolded protein response in immune cell biology

Team leader: Prof. Dr. Sophie Janssens

Tel:+32 9 33 13740 - Fax: +32 9 221 76 73
Email: Sophie.Janssens.spam.detractor@irc.vib-ugentspam.corruptor.be

Research topic

Our research team focuses on the role of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in several immune cell types. The UPR is an adaptive cellular response that is initiated upon accumulation of improperly folded proteins in the ER. Its main function is to restore ER homeostasis and to keep cells alive under conditions of ER stress. Recent work from our group and others has shown that the UPR is an important component in the functioning of the immune system. In CD8α conventional dendritic cells (DCs) the UPR sensor IRE-1α and its downstream transcription factor XBP-1s is constitutively active and deficiency of XBP-1s leads to defects in crosspresentation of dead cell-derived antigens. Future work aims to unravel how different branches of the UPR are regulated in different DC subsets and how they contribute to their basic functions. To address this, we combine cell biology, molecular biology and mouse immunology expertise.

Area of expertise

  • Signal transduction
  • UPR signaling pathways
  • Inflammation and cell death pathways

Technology transfer potential

  • Development of novel in vivo tools to monitor ER stress by non-invasive technologies
  • Identification of novel targets or strategies to improve dendritic cell based vaccination strategies

Selected publications

  1. Osorio F et al. Inositol-requiring enzyme 1-a regulates CD8a+ dendritic cell function via regulated mRNA decay.
    Nature Immunology, 15, 248-257, 2014.
  2. Janssens, et al. Emerging functions of the unfolded protein response in immunity.
    Nature Immunology, 15, 910-919, 2014.
  3. Osorio F et al. The UPR and lung disease.
    Seminars in Immunopathology, 35, 293-306, 2013.
  4. Tinel A et al. Autoproteolytic fragments of PIDD mark the bifurcation between the prodeath caspase-2 and prosurvival NF-κB pathway.
    EMBO Journal, 26, 197-208, 2007.
  5. Janssens S et al. PIDD mediates NF-κB activation in response to DNA damage. 
    Cell, 123, 1079-1092, 2005.

TEM pictures showing ER morphology
in WT (up) and XBP-1 KO (down)
CD8α dendritic cells

To top