Michael Reth and his team are studying how the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) and the B cell surface is organized in resting and activated B cells for the sensing of foreign antigens. They learned that the BCR and many B cell surface markers are highly organized at nanoscale distances. In their studies they are using the CRISPR/Cas9 method to rapidly generate loss- or gain-of-function mutants of the Burkitt lymphoma cell line Ramos as specific cell line. They thus have generated Ramos B cells which are lacking all four components of the BCR and replaced the antigen receptor by the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. This allows them to test for SARS-COV-2 spike specific antibody responses and monoclonal antibodies by flow cytometry. The first results of their assays will be discussed in the presentation.
Prof. Michael Reth is a German biologist and professor of molecular immunology at the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg. Reth is also an “External Scientific Member” of the Max Planck Society and works at the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology and Epigenetics. Since 2007 he has been Scientific director of the BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies funded by the excellence program of the German government.
Rita Carsetti is the Head of the Diagnostic Immunology Unit and of the B cell pathophysiology Research Unit of the Bambino Gesù Children Hospital IRCCS in Rome. In the last years, she has been involved in several projects related to the development of the immune system in children and adults and the changes due to different types of immunodeficiency. She is also involved in increasing the knowledge and public awareness on vaccines and vaccination and collaborates with patient associations. She is a founding member of the European B cell network and is the chair of the PUB committee of the IUIS.