Department of Innate Immunity



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The department is aiming to identify the role of innate immune molecules in human reproductive tract for applications. Among innate immune molecules, we are presently focusing on a class of proteins known as C-type lectins or Collectins eg. SP-A, SP-D, MBL, etc. Functionally these are pattern recognition proteins and interact with various glycosylated pathogenic proteins. These proteins also interact with various immune cells such as macrophages, T-lymphocytes, eosinophils, neutrophils and basophils through various receptors. MBL is unique in initiating the lectin complement pathway. Recent reports have shown expression of SP-D in human female reproductive tract. We shall be examining their role in various physiological functions in female reproductive tract that may require pattern recognition function. Our initial studies have shown their localization on human sperms. Using gene deficient mice for C-type lectin genes, we are trying to decipher their role in regulation of the adaptive immunity especially the T regulatory cells and Th17 cells. We are also looking into their role in Th1-Th2 homeostasis that has implication for implantation and continuum of pregnancy. Interestingly gp120 of HIV-1 was shown to interact with SP-D and MBL and AIDS patients showed elevated levels of SP-D and MBL. We shall be examining their anti-HIV potential and their effect on vaginal immunity and flora.