The immune system is commonly divided into innate and adaptive immune system. However, innate T cells bridge these two branches, as they share features with innate NK cells and of adaptive memory T cells. The most frequent and arguably the most important innate T cells are invariant Natural Killer (iNKT) cells and mucosal NKT (mNKT or MAIT) cells. Both cell types are very potent and important effector cells in a variety of immune responses. Furthermore, basically, all iNKT and mNKT cells in every human being express an almost identical antigen receptor and respond to the same antigens in a similar fashion. Therefore, their therapeutic potential is immense as one effective treatment could, in theory, be applied to every human. However, many important aspects of iNKT and mNKT cell biology have not been uncovered. Furthermore, the potential of innate T cells for therapeutic applications for a chronic inflammatory disease has not been explored so far.
1) The role of iNKT cells in the lung: iNKT cells play a potent, but surprisingly dichotomous role in lung inflammation: Whereas, following lung infections their Th1 response is protective, during allergic responses, like asthma, their Th2 response is deleterious. We study both types of lung inflammation side-by-side to understand how the initial iNKT cell response in the lung is regulated. As an experimental model, infection with Streptococcus pneumonia and an allergen-induced airway hypersensitivity model are used. Uncovering key regulatory mechanisms in directing iNKT cell responses in the lung will provide novel drug candidates for therapeutic applications.
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) - RD : Characteristics And Plasticity of INKT Cell Subsets In Mouse And Human
European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) - RD : Regulation of Airway Inflammations By Invariant Natural Killer T (INKT) Cells During Allergen Induced Hypersensitivity And Infection
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) - RD : Functional characteristics and transcription factor usage of mouse NKT10 cells
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) - RD : Cell-cell interactions of iNKT cells during airway hypersensitivity responses
European Union - RD : Death Receptor Signalling in Tumour Immune Editing
DEÜ BAP - Dokuz Eylul University Scientific Research Projects Coordination Unit - RD : Implementing technologies and methodologies for the investigation of invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cells
DEÜ BAP - Dokuz Eylul University Scientific Research Projects Coordination Unit - RD : İnvariyant Doğal Öldürücü T (iNKT) hücrelerinin alerjen kaynaklı akciğere infiltrasyonu / Allergen induced lung infiltration of invariant Natural Killer (iNKT) cells
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) - RD : The role of TRAIL mediated signals on the proliferation and function of human iNKT cells