School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University
Dissecting the role of TRAF1 in regulating inflammatory and autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) are largely driven by abnormal inflammatory responses. Recent research from Dr Abdul-Sater’s group showed that TRAF1, an immune signaling molecule associated with increased risk to RA, can control inflammation. They showed that people with a genetic variation in their TRAF1 make less TRAF1 protein, which loosens the “brakes” on their inflammatory cells and increases their risk of developing RA.
However, developing therapies targeting TRAF1 in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases is complicated because TRAF1 plays additional, often opposing, roles in other immune pathways. In this project, the team aims to dissect the different TRAF1 functions by identifying the sites of TRAF1 interaction with these pathways and mutating them to affect one pathway at a time. They will devise a research model to target specific functions of TRAF1 that may provide favorable therapeutic outcome for RA.