Human Commensal Bacteria-Specific T-cells
Principal Investigator: James Moon, Massachusetts General Hospital
Mutualism between the host and its microbiome suggests that the host immune system should specifically tolerate enteric commensal bacteria while still providing protection against pathogenic strains, and a breakdown in such discrimination is thought to be an underlying cause of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Our understanding of this process is hindered by gaps in our knowledge about how adaptive immune cells recognize and respond to commensal bacteria during normal immune homeostasis versus dysbiosis. In this pilot project, we will directly characterize human intestinal T cell populations with specificity for enteric commensal bacterial antigens using the latest antigen-specific T cell assays and single cell RNA-seq technologies. Our high resolution phenotyping of relevant bacteria-specific T cell populations from healthy and IBD subjects will promote a foundational understanding of how the adaptive immune system engages enteric commensal bacteria, and provide us with important insights for future therapies.