Dr. Moser’s lab studies how antibody responses are triggered. Antibodies comprise a powerful arm of the immune system. Antibodies protect from infection, but can also cause autoimmune disease and transplant rejection. Before becoming antibody-secreting cells, activated B cells receive and respond to a multitude of cues that instruct the antibody response. Dr. Moser’s lab studies how protein modifications within the B cells shift the antibody program to induce protective or pathologic antibodies. This research will help design therapies to better elicit protective antibodies and inhibit disease-causing antibodies.
Antibodies are one of the most powerful components of the immune system. A robust antibody response is essential for protection against infections, but uncontrolled or misdirected antibody responses can cause devastating autoimmune diseases. My research examines this fundamental dilemma: how do B cells get turned on to make beneficial antibodies, and what goes wrong when they make pathologic antibodies.
Antibody responses are shaped within germinal centers, where newly activated B cells integrate many signals in time and space to ultimately program the antibody response. The cell biology that underlies how germinal center B cells integrate and respond to these complex cues is still poorly understood.
Ubiquitination is a common post-translational modification that controls many cellular functions. My lab has identified two ubiquitin ligases that are essential regulators of B cell fate and function to control antibody responses. By using novel transgenic mice, in vivo models of immunization, infection, and autoimmune disease, combined with cutting edge proteomics and sequencing approaches, we are trying to understand how protein regulation within B cells controls antibody quality, quantity, and specificity. Our goal is to improve vaccine design and develop better treatments for autoimmune diseases.