Complement is an important component of the immune system that kills microbes by making pores in cell membranes. Host cells are protected from bystander damage by receptors that block pore assembly and prevent membrane insertion. Some bacteria secrete pore-forming toxins that hijack these immune receptors to promote their own pore formation, contributing to their pathogenicity. Cancer cells also manipulate this protection mechanism to evade the complement response during antibody-based immunotherapy treatments. The main objective of our research is to use structural biology to characterize the 3D structure of pore-forming proteins with immune receptors in model membranes. This research addresses biological questions relevant to understanding a mechanism of immunity and provides a strong foundation for the development of future antibiotics and cancer immunotherapies.
Ed Tate, Imperial College London, Department of Chemistry, Novel adjuvants for antibody-based cancer therapeutics: design, biological characterization and influence on membrane-protein structure, 2014
Oscar Ces, Imperial College London, Department of Chemistry, Biophysics of protein-lipid interactions
Nick Brookes, Imperial College London, Department of Chemistry, Biophysical characterisation of pore forming proteins
Bart Hoogenboom, University College London, Atomic Force Microscopy of immune complexes
James Murray, Imperial College London, cryo-EM of Calvin Cycle complexes