Research Projects (Third party funds)


A quantitative concept of self-nonself distinction

Whether T cell activation finally results in a desired proliferative immune response, depends on numerous factors. IL-2 dependent proliferation of regulatory and conventional T cells together with cell-contact and cytokine dependent suppression of conventional T cells by their regulatory counterpart, result in a nonlinear interplay between these two repertoires. In cooperation with Fariba Bahrami and Mahyar Janahmadi (Tehran, Iran), Pedro Almeida (NIH Bethesda, USA) and Jochen Hühn (HZI) we developed an ordinary-differential-equations model of T cell activation.

A parametric bifurcation analysis revealed on purely analytical grounds that the relative population of conventional and regulatory T cells as well as their absolute numbers are the major determinants for immune activation. This applies to self and foreign antigens, which are not distinguished in the model. On the contrary, our study suggests that structural differences are not required for self/nonself discrimination. The model helps in understanding the nonlinear dynamics of the immune response and emergence of chronic infections and inflammageing.

Conceptual figure of different disturbances in the immune system. Pathogenic nonself disturbances are recognized and attenuated by nonself-specific T cells. However, recognition and attenuation of…

Simm members

Sahamoddin Khailaie, Phillipe A. Robert, Alexey Uvarovskii (since 2016 in Heidelberg)


Khailaie S, Bahrami F, Janahmadi M, Milanez-Almeida P, Huehn J, Meyer-Hermann M. A mathematical model of immune activation with a unified self-nonself concept. Front Immunol4 (2013) 474.


Helmholtz International Graduate School for Infection Research
iMed – The Helmholtz Initiative on Personalized Medicine



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