center for systems

& synthetic biology

an NIGMS national systems biology center


Turning pathogen proteins into therapeutic tools

August 6, 2012

Bacterial pathogens have evolved 'effector' proteins with very clever properties that enable the pathogen to evade host immune systems.

What if bacterial effector proteins could be removed from natural pathogens and then reengineered in order to improve the safety of cellular therapies? In a new findings published in Nature, Center Director Wendell Lim and colleagues pursue this idea and demonstrate that two bacterial effector proteins could be used to rewire and tune kinase signaling pathways in both yeast and mammalian cells. Strikingly, these bacterial effectors were successfully employed in circuits designed to flexibly tune human T-cell receptor signaling dynamics, thus potentially leading to the improved safety of T-cell adoptive immunotherapy. You can also read the UCSF news story here.