OVERALL We propose a U19 Cooperative Center on Human Immunology at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX CCHI) to elucidate the innate immune networks that shape adaptive immune responses to respiratory viral infections in the human lung. Epithelial barriers lie at the interface between host and environment, where they sense invading pathogen. Dendritic cells (DCs) present pathogen-derived antigens to T and B cells to induce immune responses. However, the impact of the human lung tissue environment on DC and other cells, such as the newly identified innate lymphoid cell (ILC) family, as well as bacteria-reactive MAIT cells, is not completely understood. An understudied environmental factor is the lung microbiome. Microbiota are known to critically modulate the function of immune cells, particularly at mucosal surfaces, but how this occurs in the lung is not fully addressed. The JAX CCHI seeks to address these critical questions using a multi-disciplinary experimental approach that will integrate immunology with epithelial cell biology along with genomic, cellular, functional and microbiome parameters identified in human lung tissues. Our overarching hypothesis is that the quality and magnitude of mucosal T cell responses to respiratory viral infections are determined by the cross- talk between microbiota, epithelial cells and leukocytes. To address this hypothesis, we structured the JAX CCHI around two integrated research projects focused on basic immunological mechanisms of lung antiviral immunity; a technology development project that will create sophisticated cellular models leveraging 3D bioprinting, gene editing tools and microbiome-immune assays to support project objectives; a sample core for storage and distribution of human tissues; and a microbiome core for specialized microbiome profiling, cultivation, and computational analysis. Our Center will bring together clinicians with experts in lung immunology, the microbiome, bioengineering, genomics and computational biology to achieve our goals and maximize the potential of this research. An administrative core will provide coordination, communication and oversight for the program. The goals of this CCHI are to: 1) Understand how the networks of epithelial cells and immune cells in the human lung regulate innate and adaptive immunity to respiratory viruses; 2) Define how inflammation driven by the microbiome dictates the steady state of tissue, i.e., immune set-point; 3) Determine if and how this immune set-point is altered in two pulmonary diseases, childhood asthma and adult lung cancer, which have a major impact on public health; and 4) Develop innovative technologies to model human lung-immune dynamics and elucidate molecular mechanisms, cell types and pathways key to lung antiviral responses. Impact: Through studies focused on the sensors, inducers and modulators of antiviral immunity in the human lung, our CCHI will contribute insights that could help improve outcomes for infectious and other immune diseases that originate in or secondarily impact the lung.

Public Health Relevance

/ RELEVANCE TO PUBLIC HEALTH STATEMENT OVERALL By mapping the interactions of lung immune cells and microbial factors that modulate lung antiviral immunity, the JAX CCHI will help elucidate basic immunological mechanisms operating in the intact lung as well as the innate immune networks that shape adaptive immune responses to respiratory viral infections. These discoveries could form the basis for next-generation therapeutics to treat lung diseases, an outcome of great public heath importance given that the range of infectious and other immune diseases that originate in, or secondarily impact, the lung.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1)
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Jiang, Chao
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Jackson Laboratory
Bar Harbor
United States
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