Dr. Pauline Johnson

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 This week we profile a recent publication in the European Journal of Immunology from
Dr. Pauline Johnson (right) and Dr. Sally Lee-Sayer (left) at the University of British Columbia.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

The Johnson lab investigates how the immune response is regulated. Specifically, how the adhesion molecule CD44, and the tyrosine phosphatase CD45, regulate the development and function of immune cells such as macrophages and T cells.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

In this paper, we found that CD44 and its interaction with its ligand, the extracellular matrix component hyaluronan, negatively regulates CD8 T cell memory formation. The activated CD8 T cells that bind hyaluronan are more susceptible to death during contraction of the T cell response, and thus less likely to form memory cells. Discovering the factors that regulate CD8 T cell memory formation are of direct relevance for improving vaccine efficacy.

What are the next steps for this research?

Future studies will continue to understand the functional consequences of immune cell interactions with hyaluronan in their extracellular environment.

This research was funded by:

This study was funded by NSERC and CIHR.

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