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Biology of Phagocytes

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  Professional phagocytes are specialized cells of the immune system that play a major role in innate and adaptive immune responses. Phagocytosis and degradation of invading microorganisms or debris is crucial for bacterial clearance and resolution of inflammation. In addition, presentation of antigens  and cytokine secretion, which are late events determined by the pathway of internalization, are key elements of the immune responses. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the mechanisms of phagocytosis, especially of cell debris or microorganisms.
Our goal is to dissect the mechanisms used by phagocytes and in particular the coordinated activities of signaling pathways, membrane trafficking and cytoskeleton dynamics and their effect on the outcome of immune responses. We also analyze precisely the mechanisms that allow pathogen development in HIV-infected macrophages. Finally, we recently showed that part of the internalized material can be regurgitated without degradation and captured by B lymphocytes, a process that we aim to characterize further to better understand and manipulate the humoral immune response.