Research and development activity in the laboratory has centered on immune responses against viruses, specifically Japanese encephalitis virus. The efficiency of virus clearance from peripheral organs is determined to a large extent on the expression of MHC antigens. Although Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTL) are associated with viral elimination in many infectious conditions, elimination of neurotropic viruses from the Central Nervous System (CNS) is more complex due to the lowered expression of MHC antigens on neuronal cells. The successful elimination of neurotropic infections depends on a delicate balance between immune responses that eliminate the virus and those that lead to CNS inflammation due to CTL lysis of neurons. Hence the mechanisms with which an ultimate balance between cell mediated and humoral immune responses against JEV is established are being persued in this laboratory.
Ongoing research in the laboratory has focussed on demonstrating the role of CTL in JEV infection of mice. The nature of JEV epitopes recognised by JEV specific CTL, the manner of JEV antigen presentation by peripheral and CNS antigen presenting cells and the mechanism of antigen clearance from the CNS in mice is being investigated.
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