Innate Immune Peptides

Membrane Modulation

Our area of interest is quite broad, encompassing a wide range of topics. One such topic that we are particularly interested in is peptide or protein induced membrane remodeling. This includes a number of different areas of research, such as the study of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) derived from innate immunity. These peptides have the unique ability to selectively permeate prokaryotic membranes, while leaving eukaryotic membranes intact. This selectivity allows them to effectively kill bacterial cells without harming mammalian cells. Another area of research within this topic is cell penetrating peptides (CPPs), such as HIV Tat. These peptides can briefly permeate cell membranes and transport therapeutic molecules like drugs and siRNA without causing permanent damage. This makes them an important tool for efficient and non-cytotoxic drug delivery.

Membrane Modulation Another example of peptide-induced membrane remodeling is the Bcl2 family of proteins, which play a critical role in orchestrating cell death events in the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. These proteins make holes in mitochondria in a highly regulated manner, and too little or too much apoptosis can lead to a range of diseases, from cancer to degenerative diseases. Understanding the mechanisms behind these proteins and their role in apoptosis is a key area of our research.

Finally, we are also interested in the role of Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs) in autoimmune diseases like lupus and psoriasis. These receptors play a critical role in the innate immune system, but their overactivation has been linked to autoimmune diseases. Understanding the role of TLRs in these diseases could help develop new therapies to treat them.

Recent Publications

There is too much to describe in detail, but here is some of our recent work with links to the original papers.

How does the M2 protein of the Influenza A virus bend membranes to produce budding and scission?

How do different hydrogen bonding schemes between different amino acids and lipid headgroups generate nanoscopic membrane curvature needed for pore formation?

Nature's design principles for antimicrobial peptides (AMPs)

Cell Penetrating Peptides (CPPs) work like Swiss Army knife

Antivirals inspired by the shark's immune system

Related Publications

More general references for our work on immunity and antimicrobials are listed below. The papers are available on our publications page.

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