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Project Group 1: Immune Defense Mechanisms

Richard Kroczek
Hans-Werner Mages

Members of the lab

Prof. Richard A. Kroczek, M.D.
Focus: T-cell interaction with dendritic cells, vaccination for induction of CD8+ T cell cytotoxicity, induction of tolerance in vivo

Mages, Hans Werner, PhD
Focus: Molecular biology techniques, eukaryotic protein expression

Stephanie Gurka, PhD
Focus: Flow cytometry and flow sorting

Anika Jäkel, PhD
Dipl.-Biol. Nele Reeg
Dipl.-Biol. Martina Becker
Yi Yang, M.S.

Areas of research

The major focus of the lab is the activation, differentiation and function of T lymphocytes. T cells circulate throughout the body in a resting state. Once they recognize an invading bacterial or viral pathogen (antigen) presented by dendritic cells, T cells become activated. CD8+ T cells differentiate to cytotoxic T cells, CD4+ T cells become helper T cells orchestrating the antibody response. T cells also harbor a large part of immunological memory. Under certain circumstances T cells can be made tolerant against certain antigens which may be of great importance for the prevention of autoimmune diseases.

We currently work in following areas:

  • The biology of dendritic cells in the human
  • Interaction of T cells with dendritic cells in vivo (mouse system)
  • Development of a therapeutic vaccine for induction of potent CD8+ T cell cytotoxicity through targeting of antigen into XCR1+ dendritic cells (human)
  • Induction of tolerance in vivo at the level of CD4+ T cells (mouse system)

Established techniques

  • Molecular biology (standard techniques, gene arrays, quant. PCR)
  • Prokaryotic and eukaryotic protein expression systems
  • Culture and functional analysis of T cells, B cells, dendritic cells, NK cells, endothelial cells
  • Multiparameter flow cytometry
  • Flow sorting and magnetic sorting of cells
  • Immunohistology (APAAP, peroxidase, tyramide-amplification, confocal microscopy)
  • Generation of transgenic animals (knock-out and knock-in)
  • Hybridoma technology
  • in vivo immunology techniques

Established mouse infection models

  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Influenza
  • Salmonella typhimurium

Date: 01.05.2015


  • Gurka S, Hartung E, Becker M, Kroczek RA (2015): Mouse conventional dendritic cells can be universally classified based on the mutually exclusive expression of XCR1 and SIRPα.
    Front. Immunol. 6: 35. Epub Feb 4. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2015.00035. more

  • Hartung E, Becker M, Bachem A, Reeg N, Jäkel A, Hutloff A, Weber H, Weise C, Giesecke C, Henn V, Gurka S, Anastassiadis K, Mages HW, Kroczek RA (2015): Induction of potent CD8 T cell cytotoxicity by specific targeting of antigen to cross-presenting dendritic cells in vivo via murine or human XCR1.
    J. Immunol. 194 (3): 1069-1079. Epub 2014 Dec 17. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1401903. more

  • Becker M, Güttler S, Bachem A, Hartung E, Mora A, Jäkel A, Hutloff A, Henn V, Mages HW, Gurka S, Kroczek RA (2014): Ontogenic, phenotypic, and functional characterization of XCR1(+) dendritic cells leads to a consistent classification of intestinal dendritic cells based on the expression of XCR1 and SIRPα.
    Front. Immunol. 5: 326. Epub Jul 28. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00326. more

  • Bachem A, Hartung E, Güttler S, Mora A, Zhou X, Hegemann A, Plantinga M, Mazzini E, Stoitzner P, Gurka S, Henn V, Mages HW, Kroczek RA (2012): Expression of XCR1 Characterizes the Batf3-Dependent Lineage of Dendritic Cells Capable of Antigen Cross-Presentation.
    Front. Immunol. 3: 214. Epub Jul 18. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00214. more

  • Bachem A, Güttler S, Hartung E, Ebstein F, Schaefer M, Tannert A, Salama A, Movassaghi K, Opitz C, Mages HW, Henn V, Kloetzel PM, Gurka S, Kroczek RA (2010): Superior antigen cross-presentation and XCR1 expression define human CD11c+CD141+ cells as homologues of mouse CD8+ dendritic cells.
    J. Exp. Med. 207 (6): 1273-1281. Epub May 17. more

  • Dorner BG, Dorner MB, Zhou X, Opitz C, Mora A, Güttler S, Hutloff A, Mages HW, Ranke K, Schaefer M, Jack RS, Henn V, Kroczek RA (2009): Selective expression of the chemokine receptor XCR1 on cross-presenting dendritic cells determines cooperation with CD8+ T Cells.
    Immunity 31 (5): 823-833. Epub Nov 12. more