Current Research
Biological Systems of Cell Defense

John MacMicking investigates how individual cells protect themselves against major pathogens. This broad-based system of non-classical host defense is called cell-autonomous immunity and operates across the three domains of life. MacMicking and his team are characterizing the antimicrobial genes and circuitry constituting the cell-autonomous defense network in mammals and their inheritance from earlier multicellular and prokaryotic systems. The team wants to know: the identity of protein machineries and signaling hubs involved in restricting intracellular pathogens; whether such pathways operate in the cytosol or on specialized organelles; and if common sets of host effectors are shared across all diploid cells, or if cell-specific defense modules evolved in diverse organs and tissues.

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