Staff and specialities

Professor:  Takako HIRATA
Associate Professor:  Daisuke NAGAKUBO
Assistant Professor:  Satoshi YOSHIDA

Outline of the department

Research Projects
The skin and mucosa are the principal physical barriers from pathogens. These tissues contain immature dendritic cells that, upon infection, take up antigens, become activated, and migrate to draining lymph nodes, where they arrive as fully mature antigen-presenting cells. When antigen-specific T cells encounter the antigen-presenting cells, they proliferate and differentiate into effector cells. These cells migrate into the sites of infection, such as the skin and mucosa, and play a central role in the ensuing host defense against the pathogens. T-cell localization to skin and mucosa also plays a key role in the pathogenesis of many inflammatory skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, as well as intestinal inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. We are investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying T-cell migration into the skin and mucosa, focusing on the roles selectins and their ligands play in this process. We are also exploring the mechanisms by which T cells acquire the ability to migrate into these sites. Ongoing areas of investigation include:
(1) Biochemical and in vivo studies of the role of the selectin ligand PSGL-1 plays in T-cell migration into the skin and mucosa.
(2) Searching for novel selectin ligands involved in T-cell migration and determination of the specific posttranslational modifications of these ligands.
(3) Studies of the mechanisms that endow T cells with the capacity to migrate to the skin and mucosa. Of particular interest are the roles the interactions between T cells and dendritic cells play in T-cell migration.