Wijeyewickrema - Proteases, inhibitors and receptors: relationship to disease states
Dr Lakshmi Wijeyewickrema
Lab Head, College of Science, Health and Engineering
Our team researches enzymes, called proteases, which operate at the interface between a host, such as a human being and microbes that cause disease. Pathogens such as bacteria secrete proteases to breach host defences. Yet, our primary host defence system, the immune system, also uses such enzymes to protect us from pathogens. Our research focusses on understanding the biology of enzymes from bacteria and humans, so we that can develop compounds to protect against diseases.
Proteases are involved in many biological processes. Their control by inhibitors is important in maintaining health. Proteases also split cell surface receptors, leading to activation of second messenger systems and cellular responses such as differentiation and proliferation. Micro-organisms use proteases to alter normal biological mechanisms in the host and facilitate pathogenesis.