Picture of Manfred Lutz. Photo: Arpa Aintablian

How our innate immune system remembers

Manfred Lutz investigates how “trained” suppressor monocytes develop

For a long time, it was assumed that the innate immune system, unlike the acquired immune system, lacks memory. This means that it does not react faster or more strongly to a recurrent infection. Recently, however, it has been shown that monocytes can also remember pathogens for weeks and months and respond more strongly. Since this short-term memory differs substantially from the adaptive memory of T and B cells, it is referred to as “monocyte training”.

The preliminary work by Manfred Lutz from the University of Würzburg suggests that monocytes can not only be trained for an improved immune defense but also to suppress immune responses. He now wants to investigate this “trained suppression” in his project at the Single-Cell Center Würzburg. Together with Florian Erhard from the University of Regensburg and Thomas Hennig from the University of Würzburg, he is investigating different ways of inducing progenitor cells to develop into suppressive monocytes. The findings could lead to new therapies in the future.

About the Single-Cell Center Würzburg

The Single-Cell Center Würzburg is a joint competence center of the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) with the Faculty of Medicine of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU), the University Hospital Würzburg (UKW), the Fraunhofer Translational Center for Regenerative Therapies (TLZ-RT), and the Max Planck Research Group at the Würzburg Institute of Systems Immunology (WüSI).

The center’s objective is to analyze and understand diseases at the level of individual cells. In the future, this will enable the earliest possible and most reliable prediction of a disease and how it can be treated in the best possible way.