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Klaus Rajewsky


More about his:
> Focus of research
> Experimental approach
> Modeling human diseases in mice

Focus of research

Together with his former student, Hua Gu, Rajewsky is best known for his work in developing conditional targeted mutagenesis in mice and using the resulting mutant animals to explore gene function in the immune system. His research is based on the Cre-loxP system which exploits the ability of a recombinase enzyme called Cre to delete genes flanked by short DNA sequences called loxP. The Cre-lox system can be used to produce knockout as well as knock-in mice and also “conditional” mouse mutants in which a single gene can be mutated in specific cells of the body that express a transgene encoding the Cre enzyme. Mutating or activating genes within B or other cells of the immune system has helped to understand how the immune system develops and reacts to threats.

Rajewsky and colleagues have found that both the development and the maintenance of B cells depend on antigen receptor (BCR) expression, and they have explored the means by which B cells can somatically change BCR specificity and to which extent BCR specificity dictates the fate of the cells. In addition to a survival signal from the BCR, signals through other surface receptors are required to keep B cells alive in vivo. The nature and interplay of signals that control the homeostasis of both B and T lymphocytes in the living organism are a major focus of their research, as well as mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of B cell lymphomas and microRNA control in normal and malignantly transformed lymphocytes.