Research in the Matsumura laboratory is aimed at determining what roles fascin1 plays in biology of antigen-presenting dendritic cells. When dendritic cells encounter non-self antigens like pathogens, they undergo terminal differentiation (called maturation), changing their functions from antigen sampling to antigen presentation. The expression of fascin1, an actin bundling protein, is greatly induced during this process, suggesting a key role of fascin1 in dendritic cell maturation. Dr. Shigeko Yamashiro has found that fascin1 is critical for chemotactic migration of dendritic cells into draining lymph nodes. This motility is inherently critical for dendritic cells to present antigen information to naive T-cells. Thus, manipulation of fascin1 expression could be utilized to modulate immune responses.
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