Tromsø Research Foundation Starting Grant " iT cell defense in fish (iTD)"
To date, the most important prophylactic effort in the Norwegian aquaculture industry is vaccination. However, current vaccines, which are largely based on inactivated pathogens, fail to provide optimal protection. Although fish possess immune systems resembling those in mammals, the organization of fishimmune systems and its T cell compartments differ in a number of fundamental aspects. Thus, to optimize vaccination strategies, it is critical to harness both adaptive and innate immune cells that can assist the expansion of antigen-specific memory B and T cell pools. Notably, unconventional T cells and Natural Killer cells (NK) restricted by specific non-classical MHC molecules represent an important, largely overlooked innate immune cell population that could be targeted towards improving the elicited immune response. Thus, we study Atlantic salmon non-classical MHC molecules and unconventional T cells, their distribution, regulation and the quantity and quality of their activation after viral challenge with the goal of improving fish vaccines.
Tromsø Forsknings stiftelsen Starting Grant