Hello, I am Kim van Noort. For my master Plant Biotechnology I did my thesis at the Laboratory of Nematology in the LMA group. Already since the courses “Plants and Health” and “Host Parasite Interactions”, I am interested in the question if helminth therapy can be the solution for autoimmune diseases and allergies.
In order to answer this question I want to know how helminths interact with the immune system. Research has shown that trapped eggs of the worm Schistosoma mansoni secret soluble egg antigens (SEAs). Three of the most abundant glycosylated SEAs can be taken up by C-type lectin receptors on the surface of immune cells. The proteins are recognized through their glycans (sugar structures on the protein), therefore we wanted to know how important glycosylation is and if the protein still works if we change the glycan.
Plants are a good platform for glycoprotein production and engineering, glycans can be changed without an effect on the plant. Therefore I worked on the production of a SEA in Nicotiana benthamiana in order to study the effect of its N-glycans on the immune system.
I like working on this topic within the LMA-group. Working in the LMA-group was not like working with supervisors and students, but like working with colleagues. My comments were appreciated and they were always open for questions and discussions. I liked the atmosphere at the Laboratory of Nematology, during coffee breaks, working on the lab and the arranged activities, like the bbq and the christmas lunch.