Patricia Barral

Immune Responses to Lipids Laboratory

Immune cells constantly patrol the body to recognize and destroy invading pathogens and consequently protect us from disease. The initiation of immune responses is the result of a complex process of activation of immune cells that critically depends on communication among different cell types and often requires direct cell-cell interactions. A precise regulation of the location and interactions of immune cells are crucial to control their activation and consequently to preserve the balance between health and disease. Our studies seek to define how, where and when activation signals are delivered to immune cells and how these correlate with the initiation and outcome of immune responses

We specifically focus on immune responses to lipids. The immune system recognizes and responds to a variety of lipids both endogenous and present on pathogenic bacteria (e.g. Streptococcus pneumoniae; Helicobacter pylori; Mycobacterium tuberculosis), fungi (Aspergillus fumigatus) or commensals. By combining in vivo models, imaging and genetics, we aim to uncover how the immune system handles lipids, which are the mechanisms that mediate lipid recognition by immune cells and which are the consequences for human health when these processes are dysregulated.

Selected Publications

Barral P, Sanchez-Niño MD, van Rooijen N, Cerundolo V, Batista FD. The location of splenic NKT cells favors their rapid activation by blood-borne antigen. EMBO J 31:2378-2390 (2012) 

Chang PP, Barral P, Fitch J, Ma CS, Pratama A, Kallies A, Hogan J, Cerundolo V, Tangye SG, Bittman R, Nutt SL, Brink R, Godfrey DI, Batista FD, Vinuesa CG. Identification of Bcl-6-dependent NKT follicular helper cells that provide cognate help for B cell responses. Nat Immunol 13:35-43 (2012)

Barral P, Polzella P, Bruckbauer A, van Rooijen N, Besra GS, Cerundolo V, Batista FD. CD169+ macrophages present lipid antigens to mediate early activation of iNKT cells in lymph nodes. Nat Immunol 11:303-312 (2010)

Barral P, Eckl-Dorna J, Harwood NE, De Santo C, Salio M, Illarionov P, Besra GS, Cerundolo V, Batista FD. B cell receptor-mediated uptake of CD1d-restricted antigen augments antibody responses by recruiting invariant NKT cell help in vivo. PNAS USA 105:8345-8350 (2008)

Patricia Barral
+44 (0)20 379 63358

  • 2005 PhD in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
  • 2013 Established lab at King's College London, UK