T cells play a central role in mediating the physiological response to infection and injury through various effector functions, such as cytokine secretion. T cells become activated through interaction with antigen-presenting cells (APCs), and this interaction shapes the nature and magnitude of the functions performed by activated T cells. In our lab, we are applying technologies for single-cell analysis, including microengraving techniques, to study the interactions between T cells and autologous APCs.
Of particular interest are autoreactive T cells, which are responsible for autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes (T1D). These cells are rare, making them difficult to study using traditional methods for studying individual antigen-specific T cells such as those that rely on labeling these cells with affinity-based reagents.
We are currently investigating functional relationships between disease-associated major histocompatibility complex (MHC) haplotypes and autoreactive T cells’ phenotypes using single-cell analysis of secretion, surface marker expression, and transcriptomics. This work aims to better understand the pathogenesis of MS and T1D and may facilitate the development of new therapeutic approaches.