Innate Phagocytosis Laboratory
The Innate Phagocytosis Laboratory led by Dr. Ben J. Gu and Prof. James S. Wiley has great interests in discovering the role of innate phagocytosis in neurodegeneration, neurodevelopment, infection and cancer.
This Lab has a long history of studies on the P2X7 receptor, an ion channel activated by ATP. They discovered the non-functional P2X7 and identified a number of genetic variations affecting P2X7 pore formation and pro-inflammatory responses. Recently they have found that P2X7 is in fact a scavenger receptor in the absence of ATP or serum.
Our research at a glimpse
- The Role of Innate Phagocytosis in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (for PhD only)
- Do circulating microvesicles from patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) disrupt the blood-brain barrier (BBB)? (For Honors and MBiomedSc)
- Identification of serum glycoproteins altering innate immunity
- How does the brain remove the excess number of neurons during development and aging
- Identify the transcriptional regulatory factors of the P2X7 receptor
- Investigation of P2X7 mediated phagocytosis - potential therapeutic target for cancer treatment
- The role of P2X7 in a mouse model of oligodendrocyte apoptosis
- The nature of the P2X4 receptor
- Search the P2X7 related biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease
Further study of P2X7 mediated innate phagocytosis opens a new research field for its role in broad biological aspects, including:
- Neurodegeneration: This lab explores genetic, cell biological and animal studies to identify a common mechanism underlying a number of neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, age-related macular degeneration and multiple sclerosis.
- Neurodevelopment: This lab has revealed that P2X7 mediated phagocytosis probably contributes to the early development of central nervous system by removing apoptotic neuronal cells.
- Infection: Innate immunity can be promoted by neutralizing certain glycoprotein in serum or by compounds promoting innate phagocytosis. This lab is currently developing a rabbit model of bacteraemia/sepsis.
- Cancer: The non-functional P2X7 is found to be expressed on the surface of various tumor cells, but not on normal cells. The antibody against this non-functional P2X7 receptor is currently undergoing a clinical trial for basal cell carcinoma conducted by Biosceptre Pty Ltd. This lab has great interests in investigating the biological nature of non-functional P2X7, P2X7 mediated phagocytosis and oncogenesis.
Brain health affects all Australians. You can support our research by making a donation or a bequest.