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Immunity in health and disease

Simon Fillatreau
Team description

Our research group investigates the roles of B and T cells in autoimmune and infectious diseases, with a particular emphasis on identifying and characterizing novel pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory T cell, B cell and plasma cell subsets.

Maintaining the balance between immune system signals is crucial for effective defense against infectious threats while preventing immune-related disorders. Autoimmune diseases, affecting 5-10% of the population, and allergic disorders that are predicted to be present in nearly half of the population by 2050 represent complex challenges. Our research seeks innovative approaches to restore immune regulation in humans. We place particular emphasis on the roles of CD4+FOXP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) and B cells in maintaining this balance.

B Cell Regulation and Cell Therapy

Our past research uncovered the ability of B cells to regulate immune responses through the production of IL-10. We then identified the signals controlling this B cell function as well as the B cell subsets providing this regulatory function. We recently established a protocol to produce pure and stable IL-10-producing B cells with regulatory functions. We are now focusing on understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning their differentiation, and their mode of action in recipient mice, with the goal of developing such a cell therapy for human IMIDs.

Tregs in Immune Balance

Tregs are essential for immune balance. We have found that TCR from autoreactive Tregs have unique, high-affinity antigen recognition properties, and showed that these features were crucial to endow Tregs with optimal protective functions against immune-mediated diseases. Our current goal is to apply this approach to human diseases, starting with type 1 diabetes by engineering human Tregs with autoreactive TCRs, potentially offering new therapeutic possibilities. 

Key publications
Cox EM, El-Behi M, Ries S, Vogt JF, Kohlhaas V, Michna T, Manfroi B, Al-Maarri M, Wanke F, Tirosh B, Pondarre C, Lezeau H, Yogev N, Mittenzwei R, Descatoire M, Weller S, Weill JC, Reynaud CA, Boudinot P, Jouneau L, Tenzer S, Distler U, Rensing-Ehl A, König C, Staniek J, Rizzi M, Magérus A, Rieux-Laucat F, Wunderlich FT, Hövelmeyer N, Fillatreau S. AKT activity orchestrates marginal zone B cell development in mice and humans. Cell Rep.. 2023; Apr 25;42(4):112378. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112378. PMID: 37060566 .
Lino AC, Dang VD, Lampropoulou V, Welle A, Joedicke J, Pohar J, Simon Q, Thalmensi J, Baures A, Flühler V, Sakwa I, Stervbo U, Ries S, Jouneau L, Boudinot P, Tsubata T, Adachi T, Hutloff A, Dörner T, Zimber-Strobl U, de Vos AF, Dahlke K, Loh G, Korniotis S, Goosmann C, Weill JC, Reynaud CA, Kaufmann SHE, Walter J, Fillatreau S. LAG-3 Inhibitory Receptor Expression Identifies Immunosuppressive Natural Regulatory Plasma Cells. Immunity. Jul 17;49(1):120-133.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2018.06.007. PMID: 30005826 ; PMCID: PMC6057275.
Kieback E, Hilgenberg E, Stervbo U, Lampropoulou V, Shen P, Bunse M, Jaimes Y, Boudinot P, Radbruch A, Klemm U, Kühl AA, Liblau R, Hoevelmeyer N, Anderton SM, Uckert W, Fillatreau S. Thymus-Derived Regulatory T Cells Are Positively Selected on Natural Self-Antigen through Cognate Interactions of High Functional Avidity. Immunity. 2016; May 17;44(5):1114-26. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2016.04.018. PMID: 27192577 .
Neves P, Lampropoulou V, Calderon-Gomez E, Roch T, Stervbo U, Shen P, Kühl AA, Loddenkemper C, Haury M, Nedospasov SA, Kaufmann SH, Steinhoff U, Calado DP, Fillatreau S. Signaling via the MyD88 adaptor protein in B cells suppresses protective immunity during Salmonella typhimurium infection. Immunity. 2010; Nov 24;33(5):777-90. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2010.10.016. PMID: 21093317 .
Shen P, Roch T, Lampropoulou V, O'Connor RA, Stervbo U, Hilgenberg E, Ries S, Dang VD, Jaimes Y, Daridon C, Li R, Jouneau L, Boudinot P, Wilantri S, Sakwa I, Miyazaki Y, Leech MD, McPherson RC, Wirtz S, Neurath M, Hoehlig K, Meinl E, Grützkau A, Grün JR, Horn K, Kühl AA, Dörner T, Bar-Or A, Kaufmann SHE, Anderton SM, Fillatreau S. IL-35-producing B cells are critical regulators of immunity during autoimmune and infectious diseases. Nature. 2014; Mar 20;507(7492):366-370. doi: 10.1038/nature12979. PMID: 24572363 ; PMCID: PMC4260166.
Funding and grants