Our guts contain trillions of bacteria that help us with digestion and defense, but if they become imbalanced, it can cause intestinal inflammation that leads to colorectal cancer. E. faecium appears to protect against this and is associated with reduced infection and inflammation, but its interactions with our immune system are unknown. Remarkably, Dr. Wang and his coworkers recently discovered that SagA, an enzyme secreted from E. faecium, can protect organisms from pathogens. However, the microbial metabolites generated in response to SagA are still unclear. Therefore, Dr. Wang is defining their chemical structures and identifying what receptors they bind to and what pathways they activate. Finally, he plans to characterize the activity of these molecules in mice and hopes to provide insights that could be translated into patient immunotherapies.
Projects and Grants
Chemical biology of microbiota-protection against gastrointestinal cancer
The Rockefeller University | Colorectal Cancer | 2016 | Howard C. Hang, Ph.D.
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