Investigate our novel finding that lymphocytes can gain cell surface molecules from bystander cells by membrane exchange

There is now much evidence that leukocytes can transfer cell surface molecules to neighbouring cells via membrane exchange, the recipient cells gaining functional attributes of the donor leukocytes, e.g., cytotoxic T lymphocytes can acquire new antigen specificities and regulatory T cells can denude antigen presenting cells of costimulatory molecules. 

However, the molecular basis of this phenomenon and its importance in various immune responses needs to be clarified.  We are using high throughput screens of small chemical libraries to identify compounds that can either inhibit or enhance membrane exchange and will provide insights into the molecular basis of this phenomenon in different systems.