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Project B2: Johannes Zeyda, doctoral researcher (MD)

Evaluation of combinatorial targeting of LCMV epitopes to select dendritic cell subsets

Dendritic cells are very effective and specialized antigen presenting cells, which act as an interface between innate and adaptive immune responses. Therefore, they are an interesting target for cell based vaccination strategies. Current strategies to tackle chronic viral infections by immunizations might be less effective as they solely focus on the induction of antibody responses. In this project, we aim to target different viral antigens to select dendritic cell subsets by the application of recombinant antibodies carrying immunogenic epitopes of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) in order to induce protective T cell responses. Therefore, we will produce several variants of the antigen targeting antibodies with select antigens as recombinant proteins. Further, we will evaluate the properties of these newly produced antibodies including binding to and uptake into the target cell populations. Finally, we will analyze the induced T cell responses in mice after in vivo immunization with the most promising candidate targeting antibodies. This project will help to evolve the concept of targeting of antigens to dendritic cells as a vaccination strategy for the treatment of chronic viral infections.