Using fungal vaccines to train stem cells and improve the immune response to infection



The Immunology of Fungal Infections Research Group at the University of Valencia (UV) has studied a fungal vaccine used to train stem cells and hematopoietic precursors (which are all cells in the blood and produce a lifelong immune system) to improve the immune response to infections. The work was published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

In this work of the University Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (BIOTECMED) and the Department of Microbiology and Ecology of the UV, a vaccination model was used in mice with a non-virulent strain of the fungus Candida albicans and demonstrated the protective effect against future infections regardless of a specific one Immunity (development of T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes, which produce antibodies specific for the pathogen).

“We see that the vaccine trains stem cells and hematopoietic precursors in the bone marrow and then goes to the spleen, where they are able to produce large amounts of improved mature cells to fight infections,” explains Alberto Yáñez, Ramon y Cajal – Researcher at UV and director of this work.

IIn previous studies, our group showed that these cells recognize the opportunistic pathogenic fungus C. albicans directly and can react by producing a greater number of innate immune system cells that are important for the elimination of the fungus. In addition, we observed that the function of these cells to fight the infection improved. “

María Luisa Gil, co-author of the study and professor in the Department of Microbiology and Ecology of UV, Asociacion RUVID

In order to find out the mechanism of action of the vaccine, state-of-the-art technology, consisting of the RNA sequencing of individual cells, was used in this training. This makes it possible to determine the changes in gene expression that each of these stem cells undergoes during vaccination and the response to infection with a virulent strain of the fungus. This analysis focused on the growth factor GM-CSF (a type of hormone-like substance that helps

The bone marrow makes new blood cells and is formed during vaccination) as it is responsible for programming the cells. Stem cells and hematopoietic precursors to increase their protective capacity.

“The results of this study underline the importance of stem cells and hematopoietic progenitor cells for the protective immune response to infections,” said Cristina Bono, first author of the article and UV practice researcher. “In addition, these results could help develop more effective immunotherapies in the future, including the development of improved vaccines to improve the immune response to various infections, including COVID-19,” says Alberto Yáñez.



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