Regulation of cytokine signalling

Regulation of cytokine signalling

Project details

Cytokines and growth factors are important molecules that control blood development and the immune response. They function by binding to specific receptors on the surface of their target cell and these receptors have very diverse structures. Although the structures of many of them are known there are several important cytokine receptors whose structures have not been determined. Using an in-house expression system optimized for cell-surface proteins this project aims to purify and solve the structures of these receptors in complex with their cytokines and will involve learning skills in structural biology, cell biology and biochemistry.

About our research group

Cytokines and growth factors are secreted proteins that act as intercellular messengers to control haematopoiesis and the immune response. Cytokines bind to specific receptors on the surface of their target cells and then signal via the “JAK/STAT pathway”. Our group studies this process using structural biology and biochemical techniques. We have previously characterized the interaction between SOCS1 and SOCS3 (potent regulators of cytokine signaling) and JAK in molecular detail (Babon et al., Immunity 2012 36:239; Kershaw et al., Nature Structure and Molecular Biology 2013 20:469; Liau et al, Nature Communications 2018 9 1558) and solved the structure of shared receptor for IL-6 family cytokines (Xu, Kershaw et al., J. Biol. Chem. 2010 285:21214). We are currently pursuing structures of other important cytokine receptors. 



Nadia Kershaw profile
Structural Biology division

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