“Evolutionary genetic dissection of the genus Homo and its immune response”
This event is in the past.
Detroit, MI 48201
The Center for Molecular Medicine & Genetics Co-Sponsored with Genomics@Wayne
Lluis Quintana-Murci, PhD
Director of Research at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Professor at the Institut Pasteur, France
Unravelling the contributions of host and environmental factors to inter-individual and inter-population variability in immune responses is crucial to understand immune pathology. There is growing biomedical interest in studies of the variation of the immune response and its determinants in the healthy population ¾ in a strategy known as systems or population immunology. Here, I will present our recent studies aiming to dissect the genetic, non-genetic and evolutionary determinants of immune response variation. The role played by pathogens in shaping human immune diversity is clearly attested by population genetic studies, indicating that immunity and host defense functions are among those most frequently subject to natural selection, whether purifying, positive or balancing. Notably, we have shown that population adaptation to novel pathogen pressures can be facilitated by the acquisition, via admixture, of advantageous alleles from local “adapted” populations, such as Neanderthals or modern humans. I will also discuss our work on how genetic variation, whether adaptive or not, affects the diversity of molecular phenotypes (i.e., gene expression-eQTL, alternative splicing-sQTL, and DNA methylation-meQTL), and highlight the importance of inferring the causality behind the detected associations between genetic, epigenetic and transcriptional variation. Finally, I will present our recent data on the respective contributions of genetic and non-genetic factors, such as age and sex, to the diversity of both transcriptional responses to microbial challenges and epigenetic marks. This presentation will attempt to provide a glimpse into how population and functional genomic approaches can help to pinpoint evolutionarily important determinants of host immune responsiveness and, more generally, shed new light onto the foundations of precision medicine approaches.