Prof. Dr. Percy A. Knolle



Welcome to the Institute of Molecular Immunology and Experimental Oncology at the Technische Universität München! We are based on the main campus of the School of Medicine at the Klinikum München rechts der Isar and at the science campus at Weihenstephan. The focus of the Institute is on the clinically relevant questions how immune responses are controlled by local regulatory cues in peripheral organs and its consequences for tissue inflammation, organ damage and cancer development, the mechanisms determining clearance or persistence of infection with intracellular pathogens, the development of novel vaccine strategies and nanotechnology-based gene therapy approaches. We aim to achieve translation of basic science discoveries into applications useful in gene therapy of regenerative medicine and immune intervention in chronic diseases as well as in disease prevention.

The enormous plasticity of immune responses ascertains health and tissue homeostasis. Continuous immune surveillance provides protection against ubiquitously present infectious micro-organisms. The induction of protective immune responses is believed to occur mainly through instructional programing between immune cells within dedicated lymphoid tissues. However, it has recently become clear that also non-immune tissues like the liver actively participate in the induction of protective immune responses leading to anti-infectious immunity or the development of immune tolerance. The research groups within the Institute of Molecular Immunology and Experimental Oncology join forces to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that determine such local regulation of immune responses in non-lymphoid organs and immune-mediated support of organ-functionality. Their aim is to develop novel immune intervention strategies for human diseases associated with chronic inflammation. The Institute of Molecular Immunology and Experimental Oncology intensively interacts with life science institutions at the TU München in Weihenstephan and Garching, the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry  and the Helmholtz Centre München for Environment and Health.



Key Publications of the Institute of Molecular Immunology over the last 5 years

Seubert B, Grunwald B, Kobuch J, Cui H, Schelter F, Schaten S, Siveke JT, Lim NH, Nagase H, Simonavicius N, Heikenwalder M, Reinheckel T, Sleeman JP, Janssen KP, Knolle PA, Kruger A. TIMP-1 creates a pre-metastatic niche in the liver through SDF-1/CXCR4-dependent neutrophil recruitment in mice. Hepatology 2014, in press

Böttcher JP, Schanz O, Garbers C, Zaremba A, Hegenbarth S, Kurts C, Beyer M, Schultze JL, Kastenmuller W, Rose-John S, Knolle PA. IL-6 trans-Signaling-Dependent Rapid Development of Cytotoxic CD8(+) T Cell Function. Cell Reports 2014, 8(5): 1318-1327.

Huang LR, Wohlleber D, Reisinger F, Jenne CN, Cheng RL, Abdullah Z, Schildberg FA, Odenthal M, Dienes HP, van Rooijen N, Schmitt E, Garbi N, Croft M, Kurts C, Kubes P, Protzer U, Heikenwalder M, Knolle PA. Intrahepatic myeloid-cell aggregates enable local proliferation of CD8(+) T cells and successful immunotherapy against chronic viral liver infection. Nat Immunol 2013, 14(6): 574-583.

Bottcher JP, Schanz O, Wohlleber D, Abdullah Z, Debey-Pascher S, Staratschek-Jox A, Hochst B, Hegenbarth S, Grell J, Limmer A, Atreya I, Neurath MF, Busch DH, Schmitt E, van Endert P, Kolanus W, Kurts C, Schultze JL, Diehl L, Knolle PA. Liver-Primed Memory T Cells Generated under Noninflammatory Conditions Provide Anti-infectious Immunity. Cell Reports 2013, 3(3): 779-795.

Wohlleber D, Kashkar H, Gartner K, Frings MK, Odenthal M, Hegenbarth S, Borner C, Arnold B, Hammerling G, Nieswandt B, van Rooijen N, Limmer A, Cederbrant K, Heikenwalder M, Pasparakis M, Protzer U, Dienes HP, Kurts C, Kronke M, Knolle PA. TNF-Induced Target Cell Killing by CTL Activated through Cross-Presentation. Cell Reports 2012, 2(3): 478-487.

Abdullah Z, Schlee M, Roth S, Mraheil MA, Barchet W, Bottcher J, Hain T, Geiger S, Hayakawa Y, Fritz JH, Civril F, Hopfner KP, Kurts C, Ruland J, Hartmann G, Chakraborty T, Knolle PA. RIG-I detects infection with live Listeria by sensing secreted bacterial nucleic acids. The EMBO Journal 2012, 31(21): 4153-4164.

Huang LR, Gabel YA, Graf S, Arzberger S, Kurts C, Heikenwalder M, Knolle PA, Protzer U. Transfer of HBV genomes using low doses of adenovirus vectors leads to persistent infection in immune competent mice. Gastroenterology 2012, 142(7): 1447-1450 e1443.

Plank, C. (2009). Nanomedicine: Silence the target. Nature Nanotechnology 4, 544-545.

The research conducted in the Institute of Molecular Immunology is financed by funds obtained from the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Deutsche Krebshilfe, the European Union and research grants from industry partners.