A pinboard by
Trixy Fang

PhD student, Karolinska Institute


Using DNA as a tool to understand how immune cells communicate

One of the ways how cells communicate with each other is by 'feeling' patterns of proteins on the surfaces of neighbouring cells. Depending on the type of protein patterns, for example, the distance between proteins, this can influence the outcome of cell signalling. T cells are one of the important players in our body that provide defence and immunity against invading pathogens. They go around in our body sensing cells and checking for infections. Our team is trying to understand if certain protein patterns on healthy or infected cells may affect how T cells behave. Since these protein patterns are so small, we need a tool at the nanoscale level to recreate them in the lab.

Our team is using DNA decorated with protein patterns of known distances as a nano probe to test how different protein patterns affect how T cells behave and interact with other cells. This knowledge could give us more insight into T cell signalling and open doors to new T cell therapeutics.