Institute of Biomedicine August Pi y Sunyer

The team of “Immunoreceptors of the Innate and Adaptive System” is composed by 3 PI’s from 3 institutions (HCB, IDIBAPS, and UB), which has been qualified as consolidated research group by the Catalonia’s government (2009/SGR/00252). The group is mainly focused on the clinical and physiological relevance of immune receptors involved in the regulation of innate and adaptive responses. Special emphasis is made on two ancient and highly conserved receptor families, the SRCR (Scavenger-Receptor Cysteine-Rich) and the SLAM (signalling lymphocyte-activation molecule) superfamilies, involved in host-pathogen interactions and on which the group has achieved some international recognition as deduced from publication of reviews and comments on high-impact journals. During the period 2009-2012 the group has published 50 papers (5 reviews, 3 letters/editorials and 42 original articles) in international peer-reviewed and indexed journals, most of then (34) within the Q1 and D1, and with a total IF of 339,914; with 6 being REIPI collaborations. The 3 PI’s of the group has been awarded with 13 competitive research projects from public agencies (10 national, and 3 local) for a total amount of 2,123,000€; with 1 being REIPI collaborative. The group has generated 6 international patents (WO 2008/119851 A1; WO 2009/153336 A1; US 7867475, US 20110081292; US 20110165071P1973EP00), all of them active and licensed to companies. The group has also generated 1 spin-off (ImmunNovative Developments S.L.) aiming at developing new biological drugs to prevent, and treat multi-resistant infections and other immune-based inflammatory diseases.
The scientific background and relationships achieved by the team of “Immunoreceptors of the Innate and Adaptive System” from HCB-IDIBAPS-UB) through its participation in the REIPI during the last four years will allow its involvement in the two new work programs proposed for the next four-year period. Regarding the Program on “Microbial Resistances and Use of Antimicrobials” the team will be involved on the development and evaluation on non-antibiotic strategies for the treatment of severe infections by multi-drug-resistant (MDR) bacteria (WP7). The team has identified the broad pathogen binding abilities of a restricted group of endogenous proteins of lymphoid and macrophage origin belonging to the Scavenger Receptor Cysteine-rich superfamily (SRCR). These innate-like proteins binds to and aggregate a broad spectrum of highly conserved pathogen structures present on Gram- negative (LPS) and Gram positive (PGN, LTA), and fungi (beta-glucans) and prevent inflammation and animal death when administered during experimental mouse models of infection and sepsis. This mechanism of action makes these proteins efficient against MDR bacteria irrespective of their Gram-positive (e.g. MRSA) or –negative (e.g., A. baumanni) origin, as well as compatible/complementary to other antibiotic and non-antibiotic strategies. Consequently, the team will easily establish collaborative and transversal research projects with other groups of REIPI such as those involved in health problems caused by ESKAPE pathogens. Currently, the team has active collaborations on this regard with the research groups from Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío (Dr. J. Pachón), Complejo Hospitalario Universitario A Coruña (Dr. G. Bou), and Hospital Clinic de Barcelona (Dr. J. Vila).

Regarding the Program on “Infections in solid organ transplantation” the team is long-interested on unravelling the immunogenetic basis of susceptibility to infections in general, and in recipients of solid organs transplants in particular. The team will be involved in exploring the influence of genetic polymorphisms of innate immune receptors (particularly, TLRs) on the incidence and clinical consequences of viral infections (e.g., citomegalovirus, influenza and other respiratory virus, Epstein-Barr virus, etc) during post-transplantation. This will be done in collaboration with clinical groups of the REIPI such as those from the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona (Dr. A. Moreno and Dr. C. Cervera), Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio (Dr. E. Cordero and Dr. J. Pachón), Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron (Dr. A. Pahisa and Dr. J. Gavaldà), or Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge (Dr. J. Carratalà).

Group Coordinator

Dr. Francisco Lozano