Towards a better understanding of how the immune system makes tailored responses to different pathogens

Nuria Martínez


    Nuria Martínez


    Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Spain


    Every time we suffer from an infection, our immune system triggers a specific response according to the nature of the pathogen (viral, bacterial, helminth). This involves differentiating the immune system cells into different subtypes with specific defence functions, as well as the production of specific antibodies. The specificity of the response to each type of pathogen is the key to effectively combating the infection.

    The success of this response depends partly on fine-tuned communication between immune cells. To date, this has been linked to physical contact between cells and the production of cytokines.

    The researchers start out from the hypothesis that metabolic communication between one type of immune cells – B cells – and their neighbouring cells is what determines the specific response to each different pathogen.

    In this project, they aim to identify how and when this communication occurs and how it is shaped by specific pathogens. This will pave the way to find new therapeutic strategies to control infections and autoimmune diseases, as well as to improve current vaccines.


    Metabolic communication between immune cells orchestrates the response to pathogens