Prof. Berit Jungnickel and her team are investigating the biology of B-lymphocytes, cells of the adaptive immune system. Two priorities exist:
A) Mechanisms and regulation of somatic hypermutation, which changes the genes of our antibodies during acute infections, resulting in the production of effective antibodies. However, this pathway changes to a lower extent non-antibody genes, too, and this could lead to genetic instability of B cells and the development of lymphomas. We examine basic mechanisms of this process and regulatory pathways.
B) B cell reaction against Candida albicans, a fungus that lives as a benign commensal on human mucosal membranes. Upon immune suppression, however, Candida albicans can change into a pathogen and killer. We investigate how B cells react against Candida infections and which defence role antibodies may play.