Exploiting protein engineering and structural biology to gain mechanistic insight into cytokine functional pleiotropy

Friday 19 January 2018, 1.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr. Ignacio Moraga Gonzalez, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee

Cytokines are a large family of soluble messengers, whose main function is to oversee the correct functioning of the immune system. The general mechanism of cytokine-induced signal activation is via receptor dimerization, which leads to the activation of the JAK (Janus kinase)/STAT (Signal Transducer and activator of transcription) signalling pathway. How a cytokine-cytokine receptor complex generates signalling specificity and how that initial signalling quantum event generated upon ligand binding is transmitted across the intracellular signalling networks to produce biological activities remains poorly defined. My laboratory focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular determinants of signalling specificity by cytokine receptors. We use a multidisciplinary approach encompassing structural, biophysical and cellular studies as well as protein engineering to address how binding of a cytokine to its receptor triggers specific signalling programs and functional pleiotropy. This is important because cytokines play a crucial role in regulating not only immune homeostasis, but numerous other aspects of mammalian physiology as well. Most immune disorders can be traced to the deregulation of a cytokine signalling pathway, which makes cytokines highly relevant for human health. Gaining insight into the molecular mechanisms that undelay cytokine functional pleiotropy will greatly advance our understanding of cytokine biology and immune regulation.

Profile for Dr Ignacio Moraga Gonzalez

Location: K018

Email: ian.hitchcock@york.ac.uk