Visual Universitätsmedizin Mainz


The major research topic of our group is the study of the immune control of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in a mouse model. The control of CMV infection is dominated by CD8 T cells which are able to control the infection, but which are not able to clear the virus from the infected host. One especial feature of CMVs is the expression of immunoevasins, glycoproteins that are specifically dedicated to interfere with the presentation of antigenic peptides to CD8 T cells. Nonetheless, the biological outcome is not an immune evasion of the virus, since CD8 T cells can control CMV infection even when immunoevasins are expressed. Our work aims at understanding this highly balanced virus host relationship under different immunological conditions.

Research topics

  • Analysis of the CD8 T cell immunome of murine Cytomegalovirus (mCMV) in haplotypes H-2d and H-2b
  • Significance of immunodominant CD8 T cell specificities for the immune control of mCMV infection· Significance of the avidity of CD8 T cells with respect to their protective potential
  • Significance of vRAPs (viral Regulators of Antigen Presentation) on peptide presentation, T cell priming, and immune control
  • Immune control of mCMV infection after experimental syngeneic bone marrow transplantation in the BALB/c mouse
  • Influence of an MHC class I disparity on the immune control of mCMV infection in an allogeneic bone marrow transplantation model
  • Immune control of mCMV infection after deletion of immunodominant CD8 T cell epitopes
  • Significance of mast cells in mCMV immune control and CD8 T cell priming

Currently known CD8 T cell epitopes in the haplotype H-2d