Immune repertoire formation – a double-edged sword


The formation of antigen receptors during lymphocyte development is driven by extensive DNA editing processes crucial for the formation of the immune repertoire, namely – V(D)J recombination and Somatic Hypermutation. Our focus lies on elucidating the mechanisms underlying the targeting and regulation of these processes across the genome, as well as identifying the factors that render specific genomic sites more susceptible to “off-target” activity, which has been associated with the development of lymphoid cancers.

Infection-induced genome instablity


Helicobacteri pylori in Gastric Cancer development
Gastric Cancer (GC) causes 700,000 annual deaths. A major GC risk factor is an early infection with Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori). Traditionally, the oncogenic potential of H.pylori has been attributed to its capacity to induce inflammation in the host cell. However, the fact that the presence of H.pylori is not required for the maintenance of the neoplastic phenotype once initiated suggests that H.pylori-mediated carcinogenesis follows “Hit-and-run” mechanism that leaves a persistent signature on cells that maintains the cancerous process upon its clearance. Such long lasting oncogenic information is likely to be mediated by inheritable chromosomal changes, that – in turn – are initiated by DNA breakage. Our goal is to connect the dots between the bacterial infection, DNA damage, and the genetic background of GC.

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