The role of Eros in innate and adaptive immunity
Dr David Thomas
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Genes act as a code telling our cells which proteins to make. I have discovered a gene, which I have named Eros (essential for reactive oxygen species), which is essential for our immune system’s ability to kill harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. This is because the protein encoded by the Eros gene is needed for the stability of a complex of proteins called the NADPH oxidase, which generates chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide, that kill bacteria and fungi. Without Eros, this process cannot occur. I have found that Eros also controls other important processes within the immune system that are unrelated to its effects on the NADPH oxidase, such as the behaviour of T cells.
I will investigate exactly why Eros has these diverse effects by using biochemical techniques to dissect what happens in its absence in different cell types.
My findings will give new information about how the immune system defends itself against harmful pathogens and may inform the design of new therapies.