The principal function of the immune system is to ensure that infection and cancer are controlled. This function requires a complex network that ensures the correct activation and termination of specific responses so that the task is achieved successfully and without inappropriate harm to the host (autoimmunity). Effective immunity requires the coordinated activation of both innate and adaptive immune responses. This coordination is mediated by a network of interaction between different components of the immune system not only to ensure that the host is equipped to effectively control attacks from pathogens and curb malignancies but that damage to the host is minimized during the process. Natural killer (NK) cells and dendritic cells (DC) emerged recently as a couple of innate effectors, the reciprocal interaction of which results in a potent activating cross-talk that provides immunologists with a new scenario to be examined in detail. Our challenge is to integrate in this new scenario the role of TGF b -mediated immunosuppression . The overall long-term goal of our laboratory is to understand the mechanisms of immunosuppression at the interface between innate and adaptive immunity. Basic science supporting this area of research is critical to enhance the power of innate effector cells as therapeutic tools to strategically manipulate the immune system in the clinic to fight autoimmune diseases, tumor growth and pathogen invasion.
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