The primary interest of the laboratory is to understand the role of membrane-associated adaptor proteins in lymphocyte activation, development, and immune response. One of these proteins is LAT (Linker for Activation of T-cells). LAT is tyrosine phosphorylated upon T-cell activation and associates with several signaling molecules including Grb2, Gads, and PLC-γ1. LAT-deficient T-cells are defective in the Ras-MAPK activation and Ca2+ flux after the TCR engagement. LAT knockout mice have an early block in thymocyte development. Interestingly, mice with a mutation in LAT develop a severe autoimmune disease. We are investigating how LAT interacts with other signaling proteins and how LAT regulates T cell activation and immune responses.
Their long-term goal is to understand the details of immunoreceptor-mediated signaling pathways. Understanding these signaling pathways may identify therapeutic targets that could facilitate the development of drugs that suppress, modify, or augment immune responses in autoimmunity, transplantation, allergy, and cancer.