Researchers Look At How Genes Fight Off Infection

Results have implications for developing immune cell induction.

The genes Hobit interact with immune cells at the ‘front lines’ of the body to fight infection, according to a study from researchers at the Walter and Eliza hall Institute of Medical Research.

The researchers study in mice indicated “that the transcription factor Hobit is specifically up-regulated in tissue-resident memory (Trm) cells and, together with related Blimp1, mediates the development of Trm cells in skin, gut, liver, and kidney in mice.”

The Doherty Institute’s Dr Laura Mackay, who is also an associate investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, said the factors that control the ‘tissue-residency’ of immune cells – their ability to locally reside in different organs of the body – was previously unknown.

“These results have major implications for developing strategies to induce immune cells in tissues that protect against infectious diseases,” Dr Mackay said.

This research was supported by the Victorian State Government Operational Infrastructure Support and the Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council Independent Research Institute Infrastructure Support Scheme.


1. Mackay LK, Minnich M, Kragten NA, et al.   Hobit and Blimp1 instruct a universal transcriptional program of tissue residency in lymphocytes. Science. 2016; DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2035