Hokkaido University: Institute for Genetic Medicine


Signaling in Cancer and Immunology

Sensing mechanisms and signaling pathways for the activaton of innate immunity

  • Professor Akinori Takaoka, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Assistant professor Seichi Sato, Ph.D.
  • Assistant professor Takeshi Kameyama, DDS, Ph.D.
original page http://www.igm.hokudai.ac.jp/sci/index-english.html

How does the host recognize the invasion of pathogenic microbes? Part of the swer lies in the pattern recognition receptors in the innate immune system. These receptors, which are represented by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I), are innate sensors that transduce signals inside the cells to activate the induction of cytokines and chemokines. This leads to the activation of innate immune responses and the subsequent adaptive immune responses for the elimination of pathogens. Furthermore, PRRs can also sensor molecular patterns derived from host cells when the cells undergo necrosis/apopotosis, which may reflect aberrant inflammatory responses in autoimmune diseases.

Research projects currently being conducted began in relation to the identification of DAI (DNA-dependent acivator of IRFs), a DNA sensing molecule that activates innate immune responses. There is also evidence indicating additional sensors of cytosolic DNA. The team is trying to explore such a DNA sensor(s) and to elucidate underlying mechanisms of disease pathogenesis at a molecular level, in terms of the function of the sensing molecules in the immune system. In particular, the laboratory focuses on microbial infections, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.