This proposal requests support for a Keystone Symposia meeting entitled New Frontiers at the Interface of Immunity and Glycobiology, organized by Brian A. Cobb, Gabriel A. Rabinovich and Yvette van Kooyk, which will be held in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada from March 6 - 11, 2011. Carbohydrates are often overlooked in the study of the immune system, yet mounting data show that glycans, whether microbial or host in origin, play central roles in essentially all immune response pathways. Changes in glycosylation of host proteins can lead to autoimmunity, indicate oncogenic transformation, or even promote metastasis. Inflammation can be strongly influenced by carbohydrate-binding proteins on immune cells. Selectins play critical roles in cell homing to the site of infection, while glycosylation directly influences cellular development and differentiation. Recent advances also highlight how glycan-mediated antigen recognition by dendritic cells impacts our understanding of the innate immune response, while other findings reveal that glycolipids and bacterial polysaccharides can lead to NKT and T cell activation. To date, there has been no focused effort to bring together investigators working on the immune system who also focus upon carbohydrates, and the lack of such a forum hinders potential for growth and progress in this field. The goal of the Keystone Symposia meeting on New Frontiers at the Interface of Immunity and Glycobiology is to address this gap by bringing together the international """"""""glycoimmunology"""""""" community to foster interactions and promote the latest insights into the role of glycans in the immune system. This meeting will be unique among glycobiology and immunology meetings in that it combines these two topics and will likely be far more attractive to researchers studying immunology of glycans than the more general glycobiology and carbohydrate-focused meetings.
Glycans are naturally occurring polymers of sugars that are important for essentially all of the key functions of the immune system. Recent advances in """"""""glycoimmunology"""""""" - research on the role of glycans in the immune system - provide a timely opportunity to bring together scientists who study glycans within the immune response. The Keystone Symposia meeting on New Frontiers at the Interface of Immunity and Glycobiology will gather these researchers for the first time in one place in order to interact, form new collaborations, and develop a more cohesive field identity that can better attack the barriers currently slowing progress in this field.