? Project 1 Peanut allergy is a common food allergy that is associated with fatal anaphylactic reaction. While allergy is an IgE mediated disease, accumulating evidence suggests that allergen specific CD4+ T cells play a significant role in disease development. The objective of this project is to establish peanut allergy as a heterogeneous disease with peanut epitope specific T cells as a biomarker to define disease heterogeneity.
The specific aims of this project will include: 1) Identifying peanut specific CD4+ T cell epitope; 2) Examining the phenotype of peanut epitope specific T helper cells; 3) Testing the hypothesis that the phenotype of peanut specific T cells depends on the epitope they recognized; 4) Evaluating phenotype heterogeneity of peanut specific T helper cells in peanut allergic subjects; 5) Testing the hypothesis that phenotype of peanut specific T cells can be used to segregate peanut allergic subjects into 2 distinct subtypes; 5) Establishing a link between phenotype and molecular signature of peanut specific T cells and allergic disease status; 6) Examining the epitope specificity peanut specific regulatory T cells and 7) Testing the hypothesis that regulatory T cells in allergic subjects are functionally impaired. We will use class II tetramers in tracking peanut specific cell and cutting edge technologies, including CyTOF and single cell RNA-seq, in examining peanut specific T cells. A CD154/CD137 assay will also be developed to monitor both peanut specific T effectors and regulatory T cells. The cumulative results will lead to a much better understanding of peanut specific T cells in the pathogenesis of peanut allergy.