L-selectin/CD62L: not just a lymph node homing receptor on T-cells

Prof. Ann Ager

Professor of Cellular Immunity and Immunotherapy,
University of Cardiff


Ann Ager is Professor of Cellular Immunity and Immunotherapy in the Division of Infection and Immunity, School of Medicine and a member of the Systems Immunity Research Institute, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.

The Ager lab studies how T lymphocytes move around the body to protect against infection, control cancer growth and contribute to neurodegeneration such as in Alzheimer’s disease. A major focus has been the regulation of L-selectin/CD62L expression by T lymphocytes and its impact on physiological and pathological T-cell recruitment from the bloodstream into tissues via specialised high endothelial venule (HEV) and inflamed blood vessels. Recent studies have revealed an essential role for L-selectin in the recruitment of killer T cells into flu-infected lungs for virus clearance. Current studies are exploring pharmacological and genetic approaches to boost L-selectin expression on T lymphocytes to help killer T cells find and destroy viruses. Studies of T-cell homing to cancerous tissues using preclinical mouse models and clinical cancers have revealed a critical role for L-selectin on T cells and neogenesis of cancer-associated HEV blood vessels in limiting cancer progression. Moreover, these studies have revealed a mechanism of improving the efficacy cancer-killing T lymphocytes, such as CAR -T cells, by manipulating expression of L-selectin which is currently being tested in clinical settings.

Ann gained a PhD from Cambridge University studying inflammatory responses in vascular endothelial cells.

After training in microvascular biology with Professor Judah Folkman in Boston, she began her life-long interests in high endothelial venule (HEV) blood vessels and T-cell trafficking as a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Bill Ford at the University of Manchester.

Ann gained an MRC Senior Fellowship before moving to a PI position at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London where she began working on L-selectin/CD62L. Ann moved to Cardiff University as Reader and was awarded a personal chair in 2018. Since moving to Cardiff, Ann’s research has focussed on T-cell trafficking in virus infection, cancer and, more recently, in Alzheimer’s disease.

As Chair Forum and a Trustee of the British Society for Immunology (BSI) and Council member of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS), Ann is an advocate for Immunology to governments and other policy makers.

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