Journal of Immunology Research

Mechanisms of Extracellular Immunomodulation Mediated by Infectious Agents


1Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany

2University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

3Harvard University, Boston, USA

Mechanisms of Extracellular Immunomodulation Mediated by Infectious Agents


Host- and pathogen-encoded secreted proteins and their cell surface receptors regulate a vast array of biological processes and, consequently, represent therapeutic targets of emerging importance. In particular, surface-expressed receptors are fundamental to recognize pathogens as well as pathogen-transformed tumor cells and mediate the intricate balance of inhibitory and activating signals that control immune system homeostasis in health and disease. Secreted proteins, like cytokines, are essential for the coordination of diverse immune responses. Similarly, some pathogens express their own receptors and secreted proteins to modulate the host immune system. Some of these proteins are expressed by oncogenic pathogens acting in an autocrine or paracrine manner causing disease.

During chronic viral infection, persistent high levels of antigen exposure may result in T cell exhaustion which is often accompanied by sustained overexpression of inhibitory immune receptors or the activation of inhibitory checkpoints leading to progressive loss of effector functions. Most of the receptors that mediate these phenomena and a thorough understanding of the receptor-ligand interactions within the extracellular milieu remain elusive. Significant advances in high-throughput experimental and computational biology have enabled the elucidation of protein interaction networks. However, despite the increasing significance of the extracellular interactome, secreted and cell surface-expressed proteins remain greatly underrepresented in the available data sets, mainly due to the technical challenges that these proteins present for proteomics and other systems biology approaches.

This special issue aims at fostering discussion on recent advances in immunomodulation, with a focus on novel regulatory strategies that implicate cell surface receptors or secreted factors, of both host and pathogen origin. We encourage authors to contribute original research articles and review articles that will increase our understanding of the interactions between the immune system and pathogens, which may ultimately contribute to develop improved therapeutic strategies.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Identification of novel strategies of immunomodulation or immunoevasion mediated by pathogens
  • Immunomodulatory strategies of oncogenic pathogens leading to transformation
  • Elucidation of molecular mechanisms underlying cell activation during innate and adaptive immune responses
  • Identification of novel receptor-ligand interactions and characterization of downstream signaling pathways
  • Systems biology approaches to elucidate interacting networks between surface receptors and/or secreted factors
Journal of Immunology Research
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