Modulating the innate immune system to control inflammation
Inflammatory responses form one of the first lines of defence to infections and other immune challenges. Inflammation is a key modulator of many chronic conditions where inflammatory response are not working properly. The innate immune system forms a key part of this process and our group is interested in how the innate immune responses can be regulated. Using systems biology approaches, we have identified cryptic enzymatic centres in proteins that modulate the innate immune response. Our goals are to identify how these less explored molecular mechanisms can be used to dampen or heighten the innate immune response. We are approaching this task in several ways incorporating modern molecular and cellular analytical and imaging techniques. Projects in this area explore the scaffold of the novel catalytic centres and how the molecules interact with other proteins in vitro and in vivo. A better understanding of the biological role and mechanism of these cryptic centres will potentially lead to enhanced rational drug design to therapeutically modulate the action of these immune proteins.