Until the 1990s scientists had long believed that T cells recognised antigens, and these antigens were always peptides derived from proteins. However, it is now becoming increasingly clear that non-peptide molecules such as lipids also form a major part of the antigen landscape recognised by T cells. The ability to measure many lipid antigens at one time will allow future researchers to cross-check any disease-related lipid of interest to the list of candidate lipid antigens from this map and potentially make connections to diseases.
CAMS Oxford Institute Group leaders Prof Graham Ogg, Professor of Dermatology at the MRC Translational Immune Discovery Unit, MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, and Dr Yi-Ling Chen, Career Development Fellow at COI, have been part of an international collaboration that has developed a new and sensitive method to detect more than 2,000 lipids bound to CD1 antigen-presenting molecules, which display antigens to the human immune system.
The study, published in Cell, was led by Professor Branch Moody of the Division of Rheumatology, Immunity and Inflammation at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, and involved researchers from the USA, Australia, Netherlands and the UK.