Is interferon β a friend or foe?

Research area

 |  interferon


 |  inflammation, immunity, protein biochemistry, interferon, proteomics, mass spectrometry, iPS cells


 |  PhD/Doctorate, Honours, Masters

Project description

The immune system has evolved to fight infections while avoiding destruction of the body’s own cells and tissues. Controlling the activity of innate immune cells is a crucial component of the body’s response to infection. Macrophages are sentinel cells found throughout the body where they function to regulate innate immunity during infection by releasing proteins called interferons. The scale of the effect of these interferons depends in which receptor it binds to and how strongly. Some of these interactions are poorly understood and there are currently conflicting opinions how helpful some of these interactions are in response to infection.

The project will aim to investigate if this protein is actually a ‘wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing’, activating responses by an unknown mechanism that includes production of harmful proteins that amplify inflammation. It will utilise macrophage and patient derived interferon receptor null cells, that will be treated, and varying protein interactions identified using mass spectrometry. Overall goal is to describe how this unknown mechanism works and identify possible future drug targets.