We’ve contributeed to an interesting study regarding antigen transportation and the marginal zone! -> Prokopec et al (JI, Cutting Edge – 2016)

J Immunol. 2016 Aug 15. pii: 1502282. [Epub ahead of print]

Cutting Edge: Marginal Zone Macrophages Regulate Antigen Transport by B Cells to the Follicle in the Spleen via CD21.


Marginal zone macrophages (MZM) are strategically located in the spleen, lining the marginal sinus where they sense inflammation and capture Ag from the circulation. One of the receptors expressed by MZM is scavenger receptor macrophage receptor with collagenous structure (MARCO), which has affinity for modified self-antigens. In this article, we show that engagement of MARCO on murine macrophages induces extracellular ATP and loss of CD21 and CD62L on marginal zone B cells. Engagement of MARCO also leads to reduction of Ag transport by marginal zone B cells and affects the subsequent immune response. This study highlights a novel function for MZM in regulating Ag transport and activation, and we suggest that MARCO-dependent ATP release regulates this through shedding of CD21 and CD62L. Because systemic lupus erythematosus patients were shown to acquire autoantibodies against MARCO, this highlights a mechanism that could affect a patient’s ability to combat infections.

Copyright © 2016 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.

PMID: 27527595

We’re very happy to be part of the interesting study by Kritikou JS et al!

Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 1;6:30636. doi: 10.1038/srep30636.

IL-2 in the tumor microenvironment is necessary for Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein deficient NK cells to respond to tumors in vivo.


To kill target cells, natural killer (NK) cells organize signaling from activating and inhibitory receptors to form a lytic synapse. Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) patients have loss-of-function mutations in the actin regulator WASp and suffer from immunodeficiency with increased risk to develop lymphoreticular malignancies. NK cells from WAS patients fail to form lytic synapses, however, the functional outcome in vivo remains unknown. Here, we show that WASp KO NK cells had decreased capacity to degranulate and produce IFNγ upon NKp46 stimulation and this was associated with reduced capacity to kill MHC class I-deficient hematopoietic grafts. Pre-treatment of WASp KO NK cells with IL-2 ex vivo restored degranulation, IFNγ production, and killing of MHC class I negative hematopoietic grafts. Moreover, WASp KO mice controlled growth of A20 lymphoma cells that naturally produced IL-2. WASp KO NK cells showed increased expression of DNAM-1, LAG-3, and KLRG1, all receptors associated with cellular exhaustion and NK cell memory. NK cells isolated from WAS patient spleen cells showed increased expression of DNAM-1 and had low to negative expression of CD56, a phenotype associated with NK cells exhaustion. Finally, in a cohort of neuroblastoma patients we identified a strong correlation between WASp, IL-2, and patient survival.

PMID: 27477778

Very useful review – “Resources for the design of CRISPR gene editing experiments.”

Genome Biol. 2015 Nov 27;16:260. doi: 10.1186/s13059-015-0823-x.

Resources for the design of CRISPR gene editing experiments.

Graham DB, Root DE


CRISPR-based approaches have quickly become a favored method to perturb genes to uncover their functions. Here, we review the key considerations in the design of genome editing experiments, and survey the tools and resources currently available to assist users of this technology.

PMID: 26612492

China Scholarship Council (CSC)

Long Jiang, MD, has received a scholarship from CSC to join the lab as a PhD student during autumn 2016!

Long Jiang / PhD student (To be registered autumn 2016- )

  • Bachelor of Clinical Medicine from Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), Hubei, China.
  • Master of Medical Science from Peking University (PKU), Beijing, China.
  • Awarded the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) scholarship, and the top prize of the Chinese National Medical Students Clinical Skills Competition.


Breaking Cas!

Seems like a great resource! The software can be found here , and the publication can be found here.

Can be used in several ways, but seems very useful to identify potential off target activity of a gRNA:

  • choose organism
  • input the gRNA followed by PAM (e.g. 20+3 bp) in FASTA format, e.g.:


gctagctgagctgagcttgacgg (cgg=PAM in this case)

  • select nuclease
  • press submit

You can also input a longer sequence and Breaking Cas will suggest different gRNAs to target the region.