Research Interests

My project focuses on the evolution of adaptive immune systems (AIS), focusing on jawless vertebrates. Stemming from the striking functional parallels between jawed and jawless vertebrate AIS (cell types, lineages and immune organs), I study the molecular basis of histocompatibility in lampreys and hagfish in the context of their evolution.

My research interest focuses on the evolution of vertebrate adaptive immune systems (AIS). I have previously worked on the evolution of the enzymes responsible for generating variability in jawed vertebrate lymphocyte antigen receptors (ARs). At present, I am studying jawless vertebrates in the context of their unique phylogenetic position as extant organisms of the pioneer clade presenting a classical AIS.

The AIS of jawed vertebrates is composed of lymphocytes expressing a vast repertoire of immunoglobulin domain-based ARs in B and T cell lineages (BCRs and TCRs). Such system relies on the MHC-I and II proteins to recognize non-self entities, and control autoreactivity through positive and negative selection, where the thymus plays a pivotal role. Jawless vertebrates possess leucine-rich repeat-based ARs, also lineage-specific and somatically assembled. Alike the thymus, the thymoid of jawless vertebrates centralizes T cell development. The resulting AR diversity, likewise potentially autoreactive, is prone to require similar control mechanisms based on self/non-self discrimination. I’m interested in understanding the molecular basis of histocompatibility in jawless vertebrates.

Curriculum Vitae

  • Since August 2015 Postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Thomas Boehm’s laboratory, Developmental Immunology department, MPI-IE, Freiburg, Germany (see above)

  • PhD Thesis 'DNA Editors of the Adaptive Immune System – Physiology, Repair regulation and Evolution' (2015) Dr. Vasco Barreto’s laboratory, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Oeiras, Portugal
  • MSc Thesis 'Screening for RAG activity in haematopoietic tumours using a novel reporter strategy' (2009) Dr. Jocelyne Demengeot’s laboratory, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Oeiras, Portugal
  • Undergraduate and MSc courses in Biology – Human Molecular Biology at the University of Lisbon, Portugal.

Selected publications:

  • Trancoso I, Morimoto R, Boehm T (2020): Co-evolution of mutagenic genome editors and vertebrate adaptive immunity. Current Opinion in Immunology 65, 32-41 - 522. DOI:10.1016/j.coi.2020.03.001
  • Morimoto R, O’Meara CP, Holland SJ, Trancoso I, Souissi A, Schorpp M, Vassaux D, Iwanami N, Giorgetti OB, Evanno G, Boehm T (2020): Cytidine deaminase 2 is required for VLRB antibody gene assembly in lampreys. Science Immunology Mar 3; 5(45):eaba0925.DOI:10.1126/sciimmunol.aba0925
  • Holland SJ, Berghuis LM King JJ, Iyer LM, Sikora K, Fififeld H, Peter S, Quinlan EM, Sugahara F, Shingate P, Trancoso I, Iwanami N, et al. (2018): Expansions, diversification, and interindividual copy number variations of AID/APOBEC family cytidine deaminase genes in lampreys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA Apr 3;115(14):E3211-E3220. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1720871115
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