Main axes of research
Allergic and immune diseases are a major health problem for millions of people. The strategy of the Laboratory of Immunogenetics and Allergology (LIGA) is to strengthen its skills in applied research, to develop competitive basic research and to create an optimal environment for improved diagnosis, prevention and treatment of patients with allergic and immune-mediated diseases. Research is being performed in close collaboration with the national unit of Immunology and Allergology at the CHL.
The LIGA aims at performing high quality basic research focusing on the:
- Characterisation at the protein and DNA-level of 3 major animal allergen families: lipocalins, serum albumins and parvalbumins
- Analysis of the cellular immune response, including cellular regulatory mechanisms to selected allergens belonging to these protein families
- Analysing interactions between the nervous system and the immune system by studying the effects of several neurotrophins on natural killer cells
- Study of the functional cellular modification found in TAP deficiency
Secondly the laboratory applies its research potential at improving patient diagnosis and care. This implies:
- Development of reagents for in vitro detection of patient sensitisation to food and respiratory allergens
- Development of protein and DNA reagents to detect and trace animal allergens and proteins of animal origin
- Technology transfer to the laboratory of Immunology and Allergology at the CHL in molecular biology techniques
Current research projects
Biomolecular, immune and biochemical characterisation of lipocalins: Isolation and characterisation of lipocalins from guinea pigs and rabbits.
Further characterisation of the Argas reflexus tick lipocalin Arg r 1: Pigeon tick bites can provoke severe anaphylactic reactions. Our aim is to develop the diagnostic potential of the recombinant major allergen, to analyse its immune properties and elucidate its biological function.
Specific detection of food allergens from animal origin: Development of molecular tools for fish allergen detection and fish species identification in food samples.
Challenging memory Th2-cell plasticity with TLR ligands 9, 4 and cat allergens: Mice are immunised with cat allergens to induce a Th2 type immune response. The project characterises stages of change in Th subtype and performs gene expression profiling to identify the cellular pathways involved in the shift in vivo and in vitro in a mouse system.
Investigation of nerve growth factor and natural killer cells: Study of the effects of NGF on the functional properties of NK cells.
Investigation of natural killer cells in human and mouse TAP deficiency: Analysis of NK cell education through study of educated NK cells. Development of techniques allowing a phenotypic NK cell characterisation by flow cytometry.
Investigation of the role(s) of the neurotrophins GDNF and neurturin in allergic asthma in mouse models: Murine models help in elucidating the pathogenesis of allergic asthma and the evaluation of new therapeutic strategies. Using a mouse model, we observed 2 neurotrophins, GDNF and Neurturin in airway inflammation.
Resources and collaborations
The unit can rely on the following equipment and corresponding techniques:
- Chromatography unit and basic protein characterization equipment
- Edman sequencer
- DNA and RNA extraction
- PCR cyclers
- Cloning techniques
- DNA sequencer
- Cell culture facilities
Products and services
- Production of recombinant allergens for allergy diagnostic purposes
- Development of tools for tracing of animal allergens in food
Major partnerships and collaborations
National: CRP-Santé, Microarray Centre: Dr. L. Vallar; CHL, National Unit of Immunology and Allergology ; CRP-Gabriel Lippmann, Proteomics Platform
International: The laboratory has active collaborations with at least 12 research partners covering a broad field of Immunology, Allergology, Neuroscience, Biochemistry, Veterinary Medicine, Protein Engineering and different Clinical Centres. These collaborations with France, England, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Spain increase the visibility in the international research field.
- Research is performed in close collaboration with the clinical unit of Immunology and Allergology and its laboratory at the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg.
- The laboratory has easy access to a pathogen-free animal house.
- 8 Researchers (Prof., ass. Prof., Post-docs, PhD)
- 1 Doctoral students and students
- 0 Engineers
- 6 Technicians
- 0 Other
- Life Sciences, health and biotechnology
Dr. HENTGES François
Head of Research Unit
Phone: +352 26 97 02 50