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Research Area H: IRN Autoimmunity to Type VII Collagen

Leader of the RA: Detlef Zillikens (dermatology)

Type VII collagen is essential for maintaining the adhesion of skin and mucous membrane epithelium to the mesenchyme. Genetic defects or autoantibodies to this protein contribute to a blistering phenotype. Investigators of this Integrative Research Network (IRN) have pioneered experimental models that re­produce both the autoimmune response to type VII collagen and the blistering phenotype. The proposed IRN uses the scientific excellence in Research Areas A-E for the development of a network of young sci­entists in a concerted effort to define genetic susceptibility for autoimmune skin blistering and key events controlling the production of pathogenic autoantibodies. The effects triggered by autoantibodies, includ­ing changes of the autoantigen’s structure as well as cellular and molecular inflammatory mechanisms resulting in tissue damage, will be characterized. This IRN will extend well beyond the boundaries of this model disease of organ-specific autoimmunity and will provide new insights into the molecular and cellu­lar control of antibody-mediated autoimmunity in general.

Scientists (young/new scientists underlined)

Rober Häsler, Rolf Hilgenfeld, Saleh Ibrahim, Dieter Kabelitz, Tamas Laskay, Ralf Ludwig, Thomas Peters, Frank Petersen, Enno Schmidt, Stefan Schreiber, Karsten Seeger, Xinhua Yu, Jürgen Westermann

Resources

Different in vitro and in vivo models of autoimmune diseases, STD NMR, X-ray crystallography, genotyping and sequencing facilities as described in Area A

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