Research Summary

Intermediate Fellowship research summary

Invertebrates respond to a septic injury by up-regulating defense genes as part of the “innate” immune response. Post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation and ubiquitination have been show to attenuate signaling in critical immune regulatory pathways. The ability of protein modifications to modulate defense genes in the immune system has dramatically changed our perception of how genes are regulated.

Our group, working at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, plans to demonstrate that the post-translational modifier SUMO (Small Ubiquitin related Modifier) is important for regulation of the innate immune response. With this goal in mind we are in the process of defining a SUMO-ome, or catalog of SUMOylated proteins, involved in host defense, using Mass Spectrometric methods.

Previous mass spectrometry-based screens in S. cerevisiae and mammalian cultured cells have produced an impressive list of novel potential SUMOylation targets, which would have been difficult to discover through conventional approaches. The SUMO-ome of the innate immune response of the fruit-fly, Drosophila melanogaster will be used along with a combination of genetic, molecular and cell biological approaches to get a better understanding of the mechanism of regulation of the genes involved in host defense.

A hybrid figure made from the art of Leonardo Da Vinci (The Vitruvian Man) and a fruit fly (image Source; FlyBase) - The Vitruvian Man:Fly.