Nicolas Johnson-Dorsey, Ph.D.

Microbiology and Immunology 2013

Area of Doctoral Study: Microbiology and Immunology, UMB

Undergraduate Institute: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Research Advisor: Achsah D. Keegan, Ph.D.

Current Position: Resident, Sinai Hospital

Description of Research

The cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 are need for T-cell development and for the propagation of the T-cell mediated response, especially the CD4+ Th2 response. IL-4 is more active in regulating CD4+ Th2 differentiation and IL-13 is more active in regulating airway hypersensitivity and mucus hypersecretion. Both of these cytokines induce IgE production by B cells and are associated with the pathogenesis of allergy and asthma. It is unknown if the extracellular ligand-binding domain or the cytoplasmic domain of the IL-4 and IL-13 receptors actually determine the intracellular sequence of downstream events that follow cytokine binding. I will design chimeric receptors, containing cytoplasmic or extracellular domains of the Type I and Type II IL-4Rα1 receptors to evaluate which downstream signal dominates and which genes are upregulated or expressed to a lesser degree in a mouse monocytic cell line. The overall goal of the project is to investigate the effect of extracellular and cytoplasmic domains on the specificity of the downstream signals in the IL-4 and IL-13 pathways. Future implications include manipulation of IL-4 and IL-13 signaling to use as novel therapy to treat symptoms of asthma and allergy.