The past several years have witnessed major progresses in our understanding of how cells of the immune system communicate each other or with other cell types responsible for different effector functions. In the early '90 a frequent claim was that most lymphocyte surface molecules and receptors had already been discovered and that no major increments should be expected to the Cell signalling in the immune system: receptors, coreceptors and cytokines Page 3 of 5 http://www.fondazione-menarini.it/eng/congressi/archive/program8.htm 30/04/2012 already large number of cytokines. These ideas have been overcome by the discovery of a large number of novel cell surface molecules functioning as receptors or coreceptors mediating important effector or regulatory functions. For example, the molecular mechanisms by which Natural Killer cell function has been largely unraveled by the discovery of MHC-class I-specific inhibitory receptors and by the recent identification of the natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCR), responsible for the NK cell triggering in the process of target cell lysis. The number and the complexity of cytokines and especially of chemokines and their receptors have increased almost exponentially during the past several years. Thus, over 50 chemokines and at least 15 chemokinereceptors have been identified the production/expression of which finely regulates the migration and homing of leukocytes during their maturation or their involvement in different effector mechanisms. Moreover, a number of novell cell signalling pathways could be identified mediating cell triggering, inhibition or programmed cell death. Thus, a new word of intracellular kinases, phosphatases, caspases, negative regulatory proteins and transcription factors have been discovered. In addition, the precise role of already know molecules could be identified thanks to novel information from knockout mice or patients with specific mutations. All of these acquisitions at the molecular level perfectly fit with classical studies of cellular or applied immunology, allowing a more precise understanding of the heterogeneity and complexity of cellular interactions and cell to cell signalling. The meeting entitled "Cell signalling in the immune system: receptors, coreceptors and cytokines (from basic to clinic)" to be held in Genoa on June 19th-20th will gather together a group of highly selected and internationally recognized scientists to provide a state of the art of different aspects of cell signalling in the immune system. A major effort will be made to discuss recent advances in the context of possible applications to clinic. A practical/educational part will take place in a highly qualified laboratory. (The number of participants will be limited to 15). This will allow a direct appreciation of methods of molecular biology which allow a molecular diagnosis in medicine. The meeting is particularly suited for medical or Ph.D. doctors or students.
Prof. Lorenzo Moretta President of the Meeting