The new Immunoregulation group has three areas that build upon past insights and advances made by the Murray laboratory at while St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Information about siginficant discoveries of the Murray laboratory you find here
One project area seeks to understanding how amino acid metabolism is used by the immune system as a regulatory tool. All immune cells are auxotrophs for most of the non-essential and all the essential amino acids. However, selective pressure has focused immune regulatory networks to harness metabolism of arginine and tryptophan. We use experimental approaches to dissect how immune cells metabolize and detect arginine and tryptophan.
A second area focuses on the molecular and cellular events involved in macrophage polarization. Presently we are building upon a recent discovery by the group concerning how the inflammatory cytokine TNF controls healing or resolving immunity. While the proposed work will be focused on the TNF receptor and its signaling pathway, this is not an esoteric project because anti-TNF drugs are by far the most used biologic medicines and have provided clinical benefit for millions of people with Crohn’s Disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Nevertheless, the exact mechanisms of blocking TNF remain unclear. Our recent work provides a new insight into the mechanisms of these drugs. More importantly, the TNF pathway forms an essential mechanism to suppress the emergence of resolving immune responses.
Our experimental approaches are built to examine the interplay between different cells of the immune system in vivo and in vitro using reductive models (e.g. macrophage: T cell cross talk). We use advanced flow cytometry, genetic models and metabolic approaches routinely, in in addition to adopting new methodologies as needed, and to develop our own optimized methods.