Epigenetics and immunity: Does the environment influence the immune response to vaccination via epigenetic mechanisms?

Abstract

Epigenetic modifications to cells describe alterations to the genetic material that regulate gene expression but leave the DNA sequence unchanged. The long-lived nature of certain types of epigenetic modification, DNA methylation for example, is thought to explain how environmental influences can mediate phenotypic effects. This project will investigate the hypothesis that differential epigenetic profiles can impact upon the immune response mounted following vaccination and account for the observation that certain vaccines, e.g. the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis, demonstrate variable efficacy and induce different immunological profiles in geographically distinct populations.




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Biological Areas:

Immunology
Genetics

BBSRC Area:

Genes, development and STEM approaches to biology