Lymphoid Tissue Development - CNRS URA 1961

  HEADDr EBERL Gérard /
  MEMBERSBOUSKRA Djahida / Dr LOCHNER Matthias / Dr PEDUTO Lucie / Dr SAWA Shinichiro

  Annual Report

The aim of our laboratory is to understand the mechanisms that lead to the formation of lymphoid tissues (LTs), during fetal life, in response to commensals, during infection and injury, and during inflammation. The long-term goal is to develop new and specific tools for the control of chronic inflammatory disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis, or conversely, to induce the formation of LTs to enhance local immunity against infection or cancer.

1. The development of secondary lymphoid tissues

In the fetus, lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi) cells are recruited to sites of LT development through the action of chemokines and integrins. LTi cells activate the local lymphoid stromal (LS) cells through membrane lymphotoxin LTα1β2 binding the LTβR, and induce the expression of additional chemokines and adhesion molecules. We have previously characterized a nuclear hormone receptor, RORγt, which is specifically expressed by LTi cells, and generated BAC-transgenic Rorc(γt)-egfpTG trans-genic mice, in which LTi cells are the only fetal cells expressing EGFP. In these mice, we visualize the cellular events that unfold during LT development, such as the migration, differentiation and activation of LTi cells, the recruitment of lymphocytes and dendritic cells to nascent LTs, and the cross-talk between hematopoietic cells and stromal cells. LTi cells are also isolated and studied both at the cellular and molecular levels.

2. Tertiary lymphoid tissues

During the first weeks of life, bacterial colonization of the murine colon and distal ileum induces the formation of numerous tLTs, termed isolated lymphoid follicles (ILFs) containing mainly B cells. Clusters of intestinal LTi-like cells, the cryptopatches (CPs), sense the colonizing bacteria and differentiate into ILFs in order to increase the numbers of intestinal B cells required to maintain intestinal homeostasis. We investigate the nature of the host/commensal and host/pathogen interactions that induce the formation of ILFs, and the impact of the CP/ILF system on intestinal homeostasis. Tertiary LTs also form in chronic inflammatory lesions, as well as during lung Influenza infection. Similar to the development of secondary LTs, the formation of mature tLTs requires LTα1β2 and TNF, but the cells and chemokines involved remain to be identified.

3. Identifying lymphoid stromal cells initiating and supporting lymphoid tissue development

Although lymphoid stromal (LS) cells remain poorly characterized, they are critical to the process of LT formation through the expression of several structural chemokines, including CXCL13, CCL19 and CCL21, adressins, including ICAM-1 and VCAM-1, and the lymphotoxin receptor LTβR. These factors are necessary for the productive cross-talk between LTi cells and LS cells. Using an array of BAC-transgenic mice, we are visualizing LS cells and monitoring their localization, activation and differentiation during LT development, as well as their cross-talk with LTi cells. Specific LS cell populations are isolated and characterized both at the cellular and molecular levels, or ablated in vivo using conditional activation of suicide genes.


Une cryptoplaque (CP) (gauche, 400x) et un FLI (droite, 100x) dans l'intestin d'une souris adulte. En rouge les cellules dendritiques, en bleu les cellules B.


Publications 2006 of the unit on Pasteur's references database

Activity Reports 2006 - Institut Pasteur
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