Understanding How Genes are Regulated in the Immune System
The immune system is designed to respond rapidly to invading pathogens and orchestrate a response to eliminate it from the body. This response is dependent on precisely coordinated changes to gene expression programs within immune cells. Inappropriate gene responses contribute to the development and progression of a range of immune diseases, such as asthma, arthritis and autoimmune disorders. The packaging of our genes into the tiny cell nucleus of an immune cell creates a particular environment around the genes (the epigenetic environment), and this is important in determining how our genes respond to signals generated by pathogens. Our current research is investigating how the epigenetic environment of immune genes regulates their expression in response to immune signals. It is likely that changes to the epigenetic environment may lead to aberrant gene responses and therefore contribute to the development and progression of immune disorders.
- Lucy Apps (PhD Student)