Synthetic immune signaling
A successful immune response against pathogens requires the activation of different cell types of the immune system. These activation processes are difficult to study by classical biochemical and genetic methods alone. In this review we describe how approaches of synthetic biology, such as rebuilding of minimal functional signaling systems and the design of new molecules acting as signaling switches, can be used to get a deeper insight into the signaling mechanism of immune cells. In particular, the interaction of receptors with signal-transducing elements can be studied in detail with these new methods. In addition, sophisticated synthetic immune receptors are being tested in the clinic for gene therapy against certain cancer types.
Graphical abstractFigure optionsDownload full-size imageDownload high-quality image (117 K)Download as PowerPoint slideHighlights► Rebuilding of receptors and signal transducers reveals their signaling function. ► A remotely controlled signal switch reports autonomous receptor signaling. ► Reconstruction of the TCR in vivo provided insight into T cell selection and function. ► Engineered antigen receptors could be used for anti-tumor therapy.
Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnology - Volume 23, Issue 5, October 2012, Pages 780–784