Elisabeth MENU
  • E-mail :[email]
  • Phone : +33 1 40 61 39 69
  • Location : Paris, France
Last update 2011-03-31 17:14:06.323

Elisabeth MENU PhD reproductive immunology

Course and current status

Paris Academy, France    Baccalaureate    1981    Sciences
University of Paris 6, France    Master degree    1986    Biology
Institut Pasteur, Paris, France    Certificate    1988    Immunology
University of Paris 6, France    Ph.D.    1990    Reproductive Immunology
University of Paris 6, France    Post-Ph.D. degree (HDR)    1998    Virology


1987-1990:     Ph.D Student, INSERM U162, Paris France
1990:    Scientific visitor at the National Institute of Immunology, New Dehli, India.
1991-1993:        Post-doctoral fellow at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School, Pediatric Oncology Bepartment, Boston, USA.
1994-1998:        Post-doctoral fellow at the INSERM U131, Hôpital A. Béclère, Clamart, France and at the Biology of Retrovirus Unit, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.
1998-2004:     Assistant Professor class I-INSERM- INSERM U131, Clamart, France and Institut Pasteur, Retrovirus Biology Unit, Paris, France.

2004-2010:     Assistant Professor class I-INSERM- Institut Pasteur, Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit (ex Retrovirus Biology Unit), Paris, France

2010 until now: Associate Professor Class II-INSERM-Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit, Paris, France

Scientific summary

Title : Role of the mucosal innate immunity in the control of HIV-1 transmission at the materno-fetal interface

Still a lot has to be learned concerning the correlates of protection against HIV-1 transmission and specifically on the immune response necessary for an efficient control. This is even more true in the human species at the mucosal levels, preferential sites for viral entry in the body. In fact, an efficient vaccine would have to induce a mucosal protection. To understand the role of the innate responses in the protection against infection is today a research priority. The control of HIV-1 in utero mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) is, in this context, a model to study natural protection against transmission at a mucosal level. Indeed, even in the absence of antiretroviral therapy to prevent MTCT, 90% of the children born to seropositive women are protected from in utero transmission.

We have previously shown that the placenta play a role in this control and that several mechanisms are involved.

We are currently particularly interested in the role of the mucosal maternal innate immunity with a special focus on the interactions between decidual antigen presenting cells (dAPC) and decidual natural killer (dNK) cells within the decidua (eg the uterine mucosa at the site of implantation during pregnancy). We have previously shown that dAPC are permissive to HIV-1 infection in vitro. We speculate that dNK cells may be activated by dAPCs during HIV-1 infection and thus may limit viral spreading by controlling infection of maternal cells and/or by limiting the transmission of the virus from maternal cells to placental trophoblastic cells. The dNK cells could such regulate cell to cell transmission by eliminating infected cells at the materno-fetal interface directly or via cytokine production.

Altogether, our work should allow to highlight the role of the maternal innate immunity in the control of the HIV-1 infection at the materno-fetal interface via dNKs/dAPCs interactions. This should lead to the identification of new mechanisms of defence against pathogens at the materno-fetal interface and at the level of other mucosal barriers and thus to the development of new strategies of prevention based on the stimulation of the innate immunity.

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