About 1/4 of the world's population has latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection. It is critical to target and eliminate the latent Mtb infected cells to prevent potential transmission and control Mtb prevalence globally.
One of the most important markers for latent Mtb infected cells is a group of Mtb-derived peptides presented by the major histocompatibility complex E (MHC-E) molecules. The Dr. Barton Haynes laboratory is using a single-cell PCR and high-throughput flow cytometry approach to isolate monoclonal antibodies that recognize the MHC-E/Mtb peptides complexes. Our ultimate goal is to develop antibody-based immunotherapy strategies that can mediate specific NK cell- or CTL- killing against the latent Mtb-infected cells.