Our research has been focused on understanding how signalling pathways control gene expression, using T cells and other cells of the immune system as models. There are several aspects to our research. We are particularly interested in a pathway of gene expression that is regulated by calcium influx into many different types of cells, including cells of the immune system, neurons, and cells in heart, muscle, bone and skin: it involves a calcium sensor in the endoplasmic reticulum, STIM, which couples to a calcium channel in the plasma membrane, ORAI. The increased calcium concentration in the cytoplasm activates a phosphatase, calcineurin, which dephosphorylates and sends a transcription factor, NFAT, to the nucleus. NFAT turns on a large number of genes, in a manner appropriate to the cell type and mode of stimulation. We have also used T cells to study how gene expression programmes are modulated by stress pathways and during cell differentiation. Finally, we are investigating how the TET family of 5-methylcytosine hydroxylases affects DNA methylation patterns and gene expression in embryonic and haematopoietic stem cells. TET proteins appear to be essential regulators of ES cell pluripotency, and their dysegulation is frequently associated with cancer.
News & Events
11/11/2010 - San Diego Metropolitan Magazine
La Jolla Institute to Develop Unique Genomics Research Lab
10/08/2010 - BioSpace
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology Receives Major National Institutes of Health (NIH) Award to Develop San Diego's First Center for RNAi Genomics Research
Article link | .pdf