Awards to Lene S. Høydahl for her work on detection of peptide-MHC on gut plasma cells.
Lene S. Høydahl recieved the best research paper 2019 award from the Norwegian Society for Immunology (NSI) and the price for best research paper 2019 from the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo. Congratulations Lene!
Lene received the best research paper award from NSI and the Department of Biosciences as the first author of the paper "Plasma cells are the most abundant gluten peptide MHC-expressing cells in inflamed intestinal tissues from patients with celiac disease" published earlier this year in Gastroenterology.
In this paper, Lene and co-authors have generated and used a highly specific antibody to detect the complex of HLA-DQ2.5 bound to a dominant gluten T-cell epitope. This allows for identification of antigen-presenting cells that carry and potentially can present gluten to gluten-specific CD4+ T-cells. To everyone's surprise, the major cell type detected in the gut of celiac diease patients were not the expected culprits such as dendritic cells, but instead plasma cells. These unexpected findings align with observations done by J CoDiRC members Omri Snir and Chakri Kanduri who found that gut plasma cells have RNA expression of multiple immune-signaling molecules and genes required for antigen-presentation and communication with T cells (read full paper here).
These two papers strongly imply that gut plasma cells are much more than antibody factories, and that they are highly active participant that mediate both cell-cell communication and cell-cell interaction. As noted by the awarding committee, the paper by Høydahl et al. "will inspire future work that might lead to novel therapies. It is a great example of interdisciplinary work at the borders between applied medicine and basic biosciences, published in a flagship journal of the field."
Congratulations Lene and all co-authors. We are eagerly awaiting future unravelling of the roles of gut plasma cells in celiac disease and other immune-pathologies.