Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Professor, Department of Medicine (Rheumatology)
Murray and Evelyne Weinstock Chair in Microbiology & Immunology
Dr. Porcelli's laboratory focuses on the control of acquired immune responses by T cells, which are the master regulatory and key effector cells of host defense and immune tolerance. In broad terms, the research being pursued in the laboratory covers two interrelated areas. The first is to understand the role of regulatory T cells, with particular emphasis on the activities of a specialized T cell subset known as CD1d-restricted NKT cells. These T cells have the highly unusual property of responding to specific glycolipid antigens, which they recognize in combination with a specialized lipid antigen presenting molecule known as CD1d. The laboratory is studying the details of the cellular mechanisms that lead to the uptake and presentation of lipid antigens by CD1d, and is also using synthetic lipid antigens of NKT cells to determine how antigen structure controls the types of immune responses that are stimulated. The ability of lipid antigens that stimulate NKT cells to serve as adjuvants or immune modulators to control the outcome of disease processes is also being studied. The laboratory's second major research area is the study of T cell responses against pathogenic microorganisms, especially Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Work in this area has recently led to significant progress in understanding how mycobacteria block effective host T cell responses, and this information is now being used to further the design of more effective vaccines for prevention of tuberculosis. A major near term goal of this research is to broaden the understanding of how organisms like M. tuberculosis successfully evade eradication by the immune system. The major long term goal is to create a genetically modified live attenuated M. tuberculosis strain that will be safe and effective as a vaccine against tuberculosis.
1. Yu KOA, Im JS, Molano A, Dutronc Y, Illarionov PA, Forestier C, Fujiwara N, Arias I, Miyake S, Yamamura T, Chang Y-T, Besra GS, Porcelli SA. Modulation of CD1d-restricted NKT cell responses using N-acyl variants of alpha-galactosylceramides. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (USA), 102:3383-8 (2005).
2. Im JS, Tapinos N, Chae G-T, Besra GS, DeVries G, Sieling P, Rambukkana A, Porcelli SA. Human Schwann cells efficiently present glycolipid antigens to immunoregulatory iNKT cells via CD1d molecules. J. Immunol. 177:5226-35 (2006).
3. Hinchey J, Lee S, Manjunatha V, Chen B, Basaraba RJ, Jeon BY, Derrick SC, Chan J, Braunstein M, Orme IM, Morris, SL, Jacobs Jr. WR, Morris SL,Porcelli SA. Enhanced priming of adaptive immunity by a proapoptotic mutant of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J. Clin. Invest. 117:2279-2288 (2007).
4.Porcelli SA and Jacobs, WR Jr. Tuberculosis: unsealing the apoptotic envelope (News & Views). Nature Immunol. 9:1101-2 (2008).
Porcelli, SA. Tuberculosis: Shrewd survival strategy. Nature 454:702-3 (2008).
6. Im JS, Arora P, Bricard G, Molano A, Venkataswamy MM, Baine I, Jerud ES, Goldberg MF, Yu KOA, Ndonye RM, Howell AR, Yuan W, Cresswell P, Chang YT, Illarionov PA, Besra GS and Porcelli SA. Kinetics and cellular site of glycolipid loading control the outcome of Natural Killer T cell activation. Immunity 30:888-98 (2009).
7.Baena A, Porcelli SA. Evasion and subversion of antigen presentation by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tissue Antigens 74:189-204 (2009).
8. Venkataswamy MM, Baena A, Goldberg M, Bricard G, Im JS, Besra GS, Chan J, Jacobs Jr. WR and Porcelli SA. Enhancement of immunogenicity of M. bovis BCG by incorporation of NKT cell activating glycolipids. J Immunol. 183:1644-56 (2009).
More Information About Dr. Steven Porcelli
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Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Forchheimer Building, Room 416
Bronx, NY 10461