Susan Pierce, Ph.D.
Chief, Laboratory of ImmunogeneticsChief, Lymphocyte Activation Section, LIG
The B-cell receptor (BCR) serves two essential functions in B-cell activation, namely the initiation of signaling cascades that lead to the transcription of a variety of genes associated with B-cell activation and the transport of antigen to intracellular compartments, where the antigen is processed and presented on MHC class II molecules for recognition by helper T cells. Provided with the appropriate T-cell help following antigen contact, B cells proliferate and differentiate into short-lived, antibody-secreting plasma cells as well as long-lived plasma cells and memory B cells that constitute immunological memory. The long-range goal of the Lymphocyte Activation Section (LAS) is to gain an understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the initiation of BCR signaling, the intracellular trafficking of the BCR, and the generation, maintenance, and activation of B-cell memory. Of particular interest is the regulation of these processes by B cell-activating and inhibitory co-receptors and during immune responses to infection. The long range goals of LAS are as follows:
It is hoped that knowledge gained through these studies will add fundamentally to our understanding of B-cell activation and its regulation. Such knowledge is likely to aid research efforts in two areas of high public health priority: namely, the development of new therapeutics to control B-cell responses in autoimmune disease and the design of effective vaccines to control infectious diseases.
Dr. Pierce became chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunogenetics in 1999. Prior to joining NIAID, she was a member of the faculty at Northwestern University, where she held the Cook Chair in the Biological Sciences. She earned her Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976.
Waisberg M, Lin CK, Huang CY, Pena M, Orandle M, Bolland S, Pierce SK. The impact of genetic susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus on placental malaria in mice. PLoS One. 2013 May 10;8(5):e62820.
Liu W, Chen E, Zhao XW, Wan ZP, Gao YR, Davey A, Huang E, Zhang L, Crocetti J, Sandoval G, Joyce MG, Miceli C, Lukszo J, Aravind L, Swat W, Brzostowski J, Pierce SK. The scaffolding protein synapse-associated protein 97 is required for enhanced signaling through isotype-switched IgG memory B cell receptors. Sci Signal. 2012 Jul 31;5(235):ra54.
Waisberg M, Cerqueira GC, Yager SB, Francischetti IM, Lu J, Gera N, Srinivasan P, Miura K, Rada B, Lukszo J, Barbian KD, Leto TL, Porcella SF, Narum DL, El-Sayed N, Miller LH, Pierce SK. Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 1 blocks the proinflammatory protein S100P. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Apr 3;109(14):5429-34.
Davey AM, Pierce SK. Intrinsic differences in the initiation of B-cell receptor signaling favor responses of human IgG+ memory B cells over IgM+ naive B cells. J Immunol. 2012 Apr 1;188(7):3332-41.
Davey AM, Liu W, Sohn HW, Brzostowski J, Pierce SK. Understanding the initiation of B-cell signaling through live cell imaging. Methods Enzymol. 2012;506:265-90.
Waisberg M, Vickers BK, Yager SB, Lin CK, Pierce SK. Testing in mice the hypothesis that melanin is protective in malaria infections. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e29493.
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Last Updated August 22, 2013