My group studies the molecular basis of immune cell development and function:
We recently discovered that the transcription factor E4bp4 is the crucial regulator of Natural Killer (NK) cell development (Gascoyne et al, 2009, Nature Immunology 10:1118-1124). Our current research focusses on delineating the genetic pathway downstream of E4bp4 which controls NK cell production. Current NK cell immunotherapies would be greatly enhanced by understanding and manipulation of the mechanisms of NK cell production. E4bp4-/- mice completely lack NK cells. We are using this model to map the precise contribution of NK cells to the pathology and aetiology of multiple disease states.
We have shown that the Mll (Mixed lineage leukaemia) gene is essential for the self-renewal of haematopoietic stem cells (McMahon et al, 2007, Cell Stem Cell 1:338-345). We are now examining the mechanism of action of Mll in regulating stem cell function.
The E2A-HLF fusion oncogene is produced as a result of the 17;19 translocation which causes a form of B cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia with a very poor outcome (Yeung et al., 2006, Haematologica 91:422-424). We have recently identified target genes of E2A-HLF which contribute to leukaemogenesis (de Boer et al, 2010, Leukemia, in press) and we are continuing to determine the precise sequence of events that lead to E2A-HLF causing leukaemia.
- Medical Research Council
- London Genetics Ltd