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Laboratory of Immune Cell Biology

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Overview

The Laboratory of Immune Cell Biology is composed of independent laboratories with a common interest in the biology of the immune system at the molecular and cellular levels.

Dr. Ashwell's laboratory focuses on the mechanisms and consequences of apoptosis (regulated cell death). Among the major approaches being taken to understand this important biological phenomenon are (1) characterization of the ubiquitin protein ligase (E3) activity of the IAP (Inhibitor of Apoptosis) family of molecules, (2) determination of the role of IAPs in signaling via TNF receptors, and (3) studies of the mechanisms of glucocorticoid-induced killing and immunosuppression. Other studies are aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying antigen-specific thymocyte selection.

Dr. Bosselut's group investigates how T cell receptor (TCR) engagement promotes survival and differentiation of T lymphocyte precursors during their intrathymic development (a process known as positive selection). Previous studies have examined how signaling by CD4 and CD8 molecules impacts TCR-induced differentiation events during positive selection. Current projects aim at identifying intracellular pathways, and their target genes, that transduce survival and differentiation signals during positive selection. Ongoing approaches make use of models generated in the laboratory, in which premature interruption of TCR signals blocks thymocyte development at intermediate steps of the selection process.

This page was last updated on 7/20/2012.