Omer Dushek

Molecular immunology of signal integration by T cell surface receptors

T cells are important white blood cells that continually circulate in the body in search of the molecular signatures ('antigens') of infection and cancer. When encountering such antigens T cells become activated and subsequently initiate immune responses in order to clear these threats. Their inappropriate activation towards innocuous and endogenous antigens leads to allergic and autoimmune responses, respectively. A key aim of the laboratory is to understand the 'calculation' that T cells make in deciding to respond to abnormal cells whilst ignoring healthy cells.

T cells (red) interacting with antigen presenting cells (green)

Schematic of signalling proximal to the T cell antigen receptor

The calculation that T cells make is performed by their complex signalling machinery that integrates signals from the T cell receptor with a host of other, accessory, receptors on their surface. We are using a combination of quantitative experiments and mathematical modelling to uncover the biochemical mechanisms used by T cells to integrate these signals.

Relevant Publications

*Pettmann J, *Huhn A, *Abu Shah E, Kutuzov MA, Wilson DB, Dustin ML, Davis SJ, van der Merwe PA, Dushek O

eLife (see associated Press Release)

Lever M, Lim HS, Kruger P, Nguyen J, Trendel N, Abu-Shah, Maini PK, van der Merwe PA, Dushek O.

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.

Siller‐Farfán, JA, Dushek, O

Immunological Reviews 285:194-205

Lever M, Maini PK, van der Merwe PA, Dushek O

Nature Reviews Immunology 14: 619-29.

Research Areas