Immunology Faculty Member - Gilles Benichou, PhD

Gilles Benichou, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Dept. of Surgery, WHT 535
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-724-4206

Scientists currently in my laboratory: 

Dr. Georges Tocco - Instructor

Dr. Bruno Gonzalez - Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Mengchuan Wang - Postdoctoral Fellow

Mr. William Orent – PHD student

Ms. Aurore Prunevieille – PHD student

We have designed a series of models to study the mechanisms underlying the recognition of peptide antigens by T cells in vivo and its influence on immune rejection and tolerance. To address this question, we are testing T cell responses to self- and non-self determinant on antigens expressed by transplants and tumors. 

Area 1: Allotransplantation. T lymphocytes recognize transplantation antigens via two distinct pathways: direct allorecognition, in which T cells interact with intact allogeneic MHC molecules on donor cells and, indirect allorecognition, in which T cells recognize processed donor MHC peptides presented in association with self-MHC on recipient antigen presenting cells. We are currently pursuing the dissection of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in direct and indirect T cell responses leading to allograft rejection. Based upon this knowledge, we are attempting to design antigen-specific strategies in order to induce tolerance to alloantigens and long-term graft survival in the absence of immunosuppressive treatment. 

Area 2: Immunity to cancer. In tumor cells, p53 is expressed in mutated form and in large quantities, in new cell compartments. These properties of p53 make it as an ideal protein first to study immune responses to cancer cells and second to determine whether it is possible to engineer a vaccine against cancer. We have already shown that CD4+ T cell-mediated responses are induced to p53 following tumor formation. Furthermore, we have identified 3 p53 determinants (cryptic and dominant), which elicit CD4+ T cell responses at different stages of tumorigenesis. Based upon this knowledge, we are planning to determine whether these peptides can be utilized to design cancer vaccines.

Last Update: 6/18/2018


1. Kant, C. D., Y. Akiyama, K. Tanaka, S. Shea, Y. Yamada, S. E. Connolly, J. Marino, G. Tocco, and G. Benichou. 2015. Both rejection and tolerance of allografts can occur in the absence of secondary lymphoid tissues. J Immunol 194: 1364-1371.

2. Yamada, Y., O. Nadazdin, S. Boskovic, S. Lee, E. Zorn, R. N. Smith, R. B. Colvin, J. C. Madsen, A. B. Cosimi, T. Kawai, and G. Benichou. 2015. Repeated Injections of IL-2 Break Renal Allograft Tolerance Induced via Mixed Hematopoietic Chimerism in Monkeys. Am J Transplant 15: 3055-3066.

3. Marino, J., M. H. Babiker-Mohamed, P. Crosby-Bertorini, J. T. Paster, C. LeGuern, S. Germana, R. Abdi, M. Uehara, J. I. Kim, J. F. Markmann, G. Tocco, and G. Benichou. 2016. Donor exosomes rather than passenger leukocytes initiate alloreactive T cell responses after transplantation. Sci Immunol 1:1-16.

4. Benichou, G., B. Gonzalez, J. Marino, K. Ayasoufi, and A. Valujskikh. 2017. Role of Memory T Cells in Allograft Rejection and Tolerance. Front Immunol 8: 170.

5. Gonzalez-Nolasco, B., M. Wang, A. Prunevieille, and G. Benichou. 2018. Emerging role of exosomes in allorecognition and allograft rejection. Curr Opin Organ Transplant 23: 22-27.

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