Regulation and thresholds in adaptive cellular immunity

Prof. Dr. med. Michael Schön

Immunological processes are involved in virtually all diseases. The fine regulation of the interaction of different components of the innate and the adaptive immune system is crucial for the course of a disease. Adaptive immune responses are among the most selective reactions to environmental influences of which the human body is capable. They specifically combat pathogens such as bacteria, fungi or viruses. However, they can also be misdirected and then cause diseases, for example allergies or autoimmune diseases.

Fields of activity and projects of the research group

Arbeitsgruppenleiter Professor Schön

Against this background, our research group focuses on adhesion receptors on the surface of leukocytes. We are investigating how the activation and functional states of T lymphocytes are regulated and how these crucial protagonists of cellular adaptive immunity in the body reach the sites of their function. Surface receptors are important for both aspects.

Currently, we are working in particular on mechanisms of how different receptors interact on T cells and how these interactions affect regulatory or cytotoxic functions.

One example of such receptors is integrin aE(CD103)b7 (hereafter referred to as CD103 for short). This dimeric receptor is expressed by some T lymphocytes and appears to be relevant to their regulatory properties. In transcriptome analyses and subsequent confirmations at the protein level, we have now found that the expression of CD103 on CD8-expressing T lymphocytes under cytokine stimulation is closely associated with the expression of certain immunoglobulin-like adhesion receptors. Almost nothing is known about the function of the latter in immunoregulatory processes. We hypothesize that the population of lymphocytes expressing both receptors has special regulatory or cytotoxic properties, which we are investigating in our research project.

We are working mainly with cell lines and with cells derived from human blood. Numerous molecular and immunological methods are applied. If necessary, preclinical in vivo models are also used to investigate complex immunological relationships, for example in the pathogenesis of allergies or chronic inflammatory diseases.


  • Dr. Johanna C. Hoffmann (Physician Scientist)
  • Prof. Dr. Michael P. Schön (Project leader)
  • Karolin Zachmann (Senior Technical Assistant)

Cooperating groups within the Department



Prof. Dr. Michael P. Schön

Prof. Dr. Michael P. Schön



    • Facharzt für Dermatologie und Venerologie
    • Zusatzbezeichnungen Allergologie, Dermatohistologie und Immunologie
    • Fach-Immunologe
    • Dipl.-Ges.ökonom
    • Pubmed-Link

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