Research Weighardt lab

Our working group investigates the interplay between environmental influences and the innate immunity. The innate immune system does not only react on pathogens, but also to sterile danger signals of the environment such as UV radiation. MyD88 is a central signal adapter protein of the innate immune system; it contributes to signaling of pattern recognition receptors, such as toll-like receptors (TLR), or in signal pathways activated by IL-1 or IL-18.

We are analyzing the contribution of MyD88 induced signal transduction in the development of allergic and inflammatory reactions of the skin. We analyze the inflammatory and immunosuppressive immune reactions in the skin triggered by UV irradiation. UV radiation also leads to premature skin aging. We want to clarify if UV radiation works directly as a danger signal and if, by activating the innate system system, it leads to skin aging. Moreover, we want to investigate if premature aging of the skin changes the functionality of the innate immune system.

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a transcription factor which acts as a sensor for environmental toxins.The expression and activation of the AhR is induced by the AhR repressor (AhRR). This system is also infuenced by the activation of the innate immune system. We want to characterize the crosstalk between TLR and AhR-induced signaling pathways. Furthermore we want to investigate the influence of the AhRR on infections and on environmetally induced skin aging.