Wenqi (Ellen) Zuo L&S Biological Sciences
Regulation of Nucleic Acid Sensing Toll-like Receptors by UNC93B1
The innate immune responses are the first line of defense against invading pathogens. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play crucial roles in the innate immune system by recognizing pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) derived from pathogens. A subset of endosomally restricted TLRs senses nucleic acids (NA), thus equipping immune cells with broad recognition of pathogens while also posing the risk of self-detection. Inappropriate activation of NA-sensing TLRs has been shown to drive pathological inflammation and autoimmune disease in various mouse studies and human patients. Several studies identify the trafficking chaperone Unc93b1 as a vital regulatory node in the activation of NA-sensing TLRs. While Unc93b1 is essential for all NA-sensing TLR responses, the Barton lab and others have further demonstrated that Unc93b1 additionally is necessary for silencing certain NA-sensing TLR responses. My project aims to identify Unc93b1-interacting molecules and probe TLR signaling regulation through functional genetics and proximity labeling, which will contribute to the development of potential treatments for autoinflammatory diseases.