Research | More on Judy M. Teale
Judy M. Teale, Ph.D.
University of Texas at San Antonio Department of BiologyTel: (210) 458-7024Fax: (210) 458-7025Email:
A central goal of
our laboratory is understanding the process of B lymphocyte differentiation.
The B cell is the cell type that produces antibodies as a result of antigenic
challenge, e.g., the introduction of infectious organisms. The body contains
a vast array of B lymphocytes, each of which can respond to a different
antigen and produce antibodies of unique specificities.
One of the projects
of the laboratory is determining how such a diverse B cell immune repertoire
is generated. We know that diversity is created, in part, by the selection
and recombination of small gene segments that encode the variable region
or antigen binding site of the antibody molecule. One fascinating aspect
in the generation of the repertoire is that B cell specificities develop
in a predictable temporal order. These early specificities may be important
in the defense of the fetus and neonate against infectious organisms. Another
important finding is that there is a difference in variable region gene
expression in neonates vs. adults. Our data suggest that these differences
may relate to distinct B cell subsets. Using cellular and molecular approaches,
our current studies will define distinct B cell progenitors, determine
the role of the microenvironment, and delineate genetic mechanisms involved
in the generation of a diverse immune repertoire.
Another major project
in the lab is the immunology of parasite infections. We have been studying
helminth infections caused by Mesocestoides corti and Taenia
solium. M. corti causes hypergammaglobulinemia, eosinophilia,
and granulomatous disease. A specific aim is to determine how these immune
responses to the parasite are regulated. We are particularly interested
in the cells and cytokines induced and the parasite specific molecules
responsible for their induction. Early on in the infection the organism
encysts the liver and granulomas form to help contain the infection. Our
studies are carefully evaluating the immune molecules required for granuloma
T. solium is the causative agent of neurocysticercosis in which the organism invades the brain. This is a disease that affects millions of people, especially
in Mexico and South America. We are analyzing brain tissue from infected patients to define the immune response and associated pathology. We have also developed a murine model for the disease. Our studies have revealed a variety of immune cells that can cross the blood brain barrier. These cells produce several cytokines that are known to amplify
the immune response further. We are currently using this information to uncover the mechanisms of pathology. These studies of the brain are particularly important because it allows us to compare the systemic immune response
with that of the central nervous system.
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Graduate Students in Dr. Teale's lab