Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Research in this laboratory focuses on using knowledge about the basic mechanisms of T lymphocyte biology in order to design novel immunotherapies for use in infectious diseases, transplantation, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. The techniques of cellular immunology, protein chemistry, and molecular biology are used in the following four projects:
1) Immunosuppressive efects of HLA derived peptides. Synthetic peptides corresponding to linear sequences of HLA molecules inhibit T lymphocyte function both in vitro and in vivo. Current studies in the laboratory focus on the mechanism of action of the peptides in signal transduction and transcriptional regulation and identification and characterization of the receptor(s) for peptide. The effect of these peptides in murine models of transplantation, diabetes mellitus, and graft versus host disease is being investigated.
2) Function and transcriptional regulation of expression of the chemokine RANTES. RANTES is a chemoattractant cytokine (chemokine) and HIV suppressor factor first identified in this laboratory. Ongoing studies involve the characterization of novel transcription factors expressed three to five days after T cell activation which are responsible for regulating the RANTES expression in T lymphocytes.
3) The novel cytolyic molecule granulysin. We identified granulysin as a T cell specific gene using subtractive hybridization. It is expressed in CTL and NK cells and kills microbes and tumor cells. Studies in the laboratory are focused on understanding the mechanism of action of granulysin in inducing apoptosis and its target specificity.
4) Role of chemokine lymphotactin in immunologic tolerance.