Define the role of carbohydrate binding proteins in immunity

In addition to studying factors the directly impact the growth and survival of microbes that decorate themselves in blood group antigens, we are also seeking to understand fundamental processes whereby carbohydrate-binding proteins regulate immune function.  These studies include factors regulating alterations in cell surface glycosylation of key immune effector cells, and the impact of these changes on the binding and subsequent signaling of different immune populations.  In addition, these studies include the development and utilization of various glycan microarray platforms to examine the binding specificity of various carbohydrate binding proteins.

As various carbohydrate binding proteins possess the capacity to significantly impact the development and regulation of immunity, positively manipulating immunity through altering interactions of immune cells with various carbohydrate binding proteins can provide a unique strategy to directly alter immune function.  Such strategies may be used to specifically inhibit immunity against various alloantigens in the setting of autoimmunity, transfusion and transplantation or to augment immunity during infectious disease or just prior to vaccination.  As a result, these studies provide the opportunity to significantly and positively impact the role of immunity in a variety of ailments, ranging from neoplasia to autoimmunity and infectious disease.

Pleiotropic-galectin-figure

galectin pathogens

Lab members working in this area

Connie Arthur, Jianmei Wang

References