Kristin A. Hogquist
Board Member: 2013-2016
My lab is interested in the paradoxical requirement for the T cell receptors interaction with MHC for both positive selection (life) and negative selection (death) in the thymus. We've recently learned that the basis for this discrimination lies in the specific self peptides that are bound to the MHC molecules (a single MHC molecule binds thousands of different peptides), and have identified synthetic peptides that will induce either positive or negative selection. We would like to go further and define the naturally occuring self peptides that induce positive selection. Both positively and negatively selecting peptide ligands signal via the same receptor--and our next challenge is to understand how this multifunctional receptor can dictate life or death. For this we are using genetic mutants in the T cell receptor signal transduction pathway, and studying the peptide specific induction of biochemical changes in the cell.