Inflammasomes are complexes within cells that enable them to recognize if they’ve been infected. If so, cells send out inflammatory cytokines and undergo cell death through pyroptosis, alerting the immune system to the presence of infectious pathogens. Abnormal inflammasome activity can contribute to cancer development, and Dr. Zhang is characterizing the various molecules involved in inflammasome activation and formation. She plans to define the signaling pathways that govern this process and to determine the physical shape of these complexes, which will help reveal how they combine to control inflammasome activity. Together, these insights could suggest new ways to both prevent and treat cancer.
Projects and Grants
Structural studies of NAIP/NLRC4 inflammasomes in immunity and cancer
Boston Children’s Hospital | Melanoma | 2016 | Hao Wu, Ph.D.
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