Overview of scientific concept

The immune system is essential for maintaining health and plays a pivotal role in most diseases. Great advances have been made in the discipline of innate immunity, one of the most dynamic fields in life sciences. At the core of innate immunity lie pattern recognition receptors (here: immune sensing receptors), most of which have been discovered within the last fifteen years. Immune sensing receptors detect foreign microbial molecules or altered self-molecules from tissue damage. The activation of immune sensing receptors initiates defense and repair mechanisms that normally protect the host. However, dysregulation of these responses can cause a range of inflammatory diseases. With the recent discoveries that particular immune sensing receptors are present in most somatic cells and that the metabolic state and neuronal inputs are tightly integrated, innate immunity has developed beyond the boundaries of classical immunology. This has led the ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence to the concept of the immune sensory system. The Excellence Cluster addresses this concept by linking innate immunity at the University of Bonn with world-class expertise in sensory systems research (Molecular Sensory Systems, caesar), neurobiology (German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, DZNE), and mathematics (Institute of Applied Mathematics). The University of Bonn, the Medical Faculty and the Life & Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES), have already established highly successful cross-faculty interactions, which have led to a number of important discoveries in the field of immune sensing, namely in inflammasome research,

immunorecognition of nucleic acids, lectins and dendritic cells, local immune regulation in the liver and the gut, immune cell migration, the endocannabinoid system and the crossroad of metabolism and innate immunity. It is now evident that immune sensing is involved in many of the lifestyle-associated diseases of modern societies, such as atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, neurodegeneration and cancer. The University of Bonn and participating institutions are uniquely situated to address the challenges and the great potential of this emerging field. Three institutes in the Medical Faculty and two units at LIMES are exclusively devoted to immunology. In 2009, the state NRW awarded the University of Bonn with research funds for the establishment of the first Institute of Innate Immunity in Germany. The recruitment of additional scientists and the establishment of cross-institutional technological platforms will catalyze our efforts to better understand immune sensing receptors and their ligands, their regulation by the local and systemic environments, and the integration of sensory input and its consequences for inflammation in vivo. The International Innate Immunity Consortium (IIIC) is a great asset to our international collaborations. Together with its strong measures for early career support and gender equality, the ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence stands well prepared to become one of the leading centers of innate immune sensing and ultimately to make a sustained impact on human health. Achievements of the group.