Investigating phosphatidylinositol phosphates in antigen presentation
University of Sheffield
Specialised immune cells continually engulf and sample their environment looking for foreign molecules. They then alert the immune system of the presence of invading pathogens. Internalised fluid or pathogens are degraded to generate antigens which are subsequently loaded onto specific molecules (major histocompatibility complex class II, MHCII) that transport them back to the cell surface and display them in a signal to the immune system. This process is vulnerable to exploitation by pathogens, which can prevent antigen presentation, meaning the pathogens remain undetected. Despite its importance, the mechanisms by which both the antigens and MHCII are transported in the cell and back to the surface are poorly understood.
I will unpick the mechanisms governing MHCII trafficking using live microscopy and manipulating vesicle trafficking pathways in uninfected cells and those infected with pathogens.
My studies will provide details of the mechanisms behind antigen presentation and how this can be subverted by pathogens.