Why B cells have to swim against the current

After a successful start in 2016, in 2017 the GC-I³ again invited its members to submit publications for the Paper of the Year. The best three were chosen from the ten submissions, which had an average impact factor of 11.1. 

Dr. Kerry Tedford from the Institute for Biochemistry and Cellular Biology received the first price for her work „The opposing forces of shear flow and sphingosine-1-phosphate control marginal zone B cell shuttling“, which was published in Nature Communications. Marginal zone B cells are specialized B cells in the spleen; they are an important part of the early immune response against pathogens in the blood. In order to optimally complete their task, they must move between different regions within the spleen. In her paper, Dr. Tedford showed for the first time that the B cells use the direction and velocity of the blood flow as orientation. In addition, it is known that sphingosine-1-phospate (S1P) plays a role in this process, but the researchers demonstrated for the first time a molecular mechanism that explains the role of S1P. This is especially significant because signalling pathways enabled by S1P are the goal of important therapeutics, for example against the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis.

Abbildung Tedford et al

Dr. Shrey Kohli secured the second place for the second time. He is currently a PostDoc at the Institute for Clinical Chemical and Pathobiochemistry after completing his dissertation summa cum laude. His paper, „p45 NF-E2 regulates syncytiotrophoblast differentiation by post-translational GCM1 modifications in human intrauterine growth restriction“, was published in Cell Death and Disease. In this work, he investigated the signalling pathways that lead to impaired vascularization and thus to insufficiency of the placenta. A placenta insufficiency is dangerous for the development of the child in the womb, and can also lead to long-term complications later in life such as diabetes and arteriosclerosis. Dr. Kohli identified a new molecule whose function is impeded in affected pregnant women. In future studies new biomarkers and therapies could be developed. 

Dr. Aditya Arra from the Department of Experimental Pediatrics and Neonatology received the third place. His paper,  „The differentiation and plasticity of Tc17 cells are regulated by CTLA-4-mediated effects on STATs“, was published in OncoImmunology. During the treatment of various types of cancer, for example malign melanomas (black skin cancer), immunotherapies are becoming more and more important. For this purpose, the fact that endogenous T cells identify and fight cancer cells is stimulated and used. In the award-winning study, the scientists studied this process and were able to identify further parts of the cascade of events that are necessary to efficiently fight tumors through the bodies own T cells. 

The exceptional work of these three young scientists was honored by the GC-I³ with prizes of 1000 €, 500 € and 250 €, respectively. The official prize ceremony is on the 25th of October 2018 as part of the parliamentary night of the GC-I³. Also in 2018, the GC-I³ will award three prizes for the Paper of the Year. Applications have to comply with the following criteria: the work was published or officially accepted in 2018, the submitter is the first author (or one of the first authors) and the work must have been primarily carried out at a facility of a member of the GC-I³. In addition, only works in which the GC-I³ is named as an affiliation can be submitted. 

Figure: Immunoflorescence microscopy of the spleen. The molecules ICAM-1 (green) and VCAM-1 (purple) were dyed, allowing the various zones of the spleen to be differentiated from one another.  The marginal zone B cells have to move between these zones. (Source: Tedford et al., Nature Communications, 2017; 8: 2261.)

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