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.
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.