Protein engineering and advanced imaging
CIR scientist employs advanced microscopes to study intracellular events that shape immune responses.
We design and develop novel molecular tools, used to study immune reactions, and tailor made proteins for therapeutic applications.
New research tools
To be able to study the nature of a given immune response in detail, we need highly specific detection tools. Taking advantage of the specific detection system of the adaptive immune system it self, namely T-cell receptors and antibodies, CIR produce novel research tools.
CIR researchers, mainly in the Sandlie group, employ molecular biology techniques, including phage display technology, to produce soluble T-cell receptors for the detection of complexes between HLA molecules on antigen presenting cells and antigenic peptides presented on the HLA molecules. We also develop peptide-HLA complexes for the detection of specific T cells.
In particular we focus on HLA-peptides and T-cell receptors characteristic of coeliac disease and the model of autoimmune disease that we study at CIR. The detection tools are engineered to optimise their stability and affinity.
Tailoring the half-life of drugs
Proteins in the blood stream are short lived and normally degraded within a few hours or days. The two most abundant proteins, IgG and albumin, are rescued from degradation and have half-lives of three weeks. The rescue mechanism depends on their interaction with the neonatal Fc receptor, FcRn.
Researchers in the Sandlie group map the molecular interaction between FcRn and its ligands and engineer proteins to investigate whether the serum half-life of other protein therapeutics can be improved.
Seeing is believing - visualising immunology
CIR researchers, mainly in the Bakke group, study immune cells in advanced microscopes. We make 3D movies and follow cells over time to learn how molecules are sorted and how they travel between compartments within the cell.
In particular we study the endocytic pathway and its role in antigen uptake, processing and presentation - instrumental events in the initiation and propagation of adaptive immune responses.
Increased understanding of cell biological processes in the endocytic pathway in antigen presenting cells provide the basis to better understand vaccination regimes and protocols for immune therapy of cancer, autoimmune-, and infectious diseases.