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My lab is performing research in the field of infection and immunity. We are interested in the recognition of microbes by cells of the innate immune system including macrophages and dendritic cells. Over the last years it has turned out that Toll-like receptors are highly important for the recognition of microbial structures by a process which is now termed “pattern recognition”. Specifically, we have a strong interest in the recognition of bacterial and viral nucleic acids. We are focusing on signal transduction principles mediated by NFkB.

Within this postgraduate program we are interested in a group of proteins termed Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling (SOCS). SOCS proteins have initially been identified as inducible feedback inhibitors of type I and II cytokine receptors. However, we have shown that SOCS proteins can also be induced by Toll-like receptor ligation and we have analyzed the role of SOCS proteins in regulating Toll-like receptor signal transduction. Our results indicate that via the group of SOCS proteins TLR- and IFN-signaling modules are tightly interconnected. This has important implications for the integrative response of a cell if multiple signals are sensed in parallel. SOCS proteins thus regulate the spatial-temporal integration of TLR and cytokine signals and this impacts the activation potential (activation vs. tolerance) of macrophages and dendritic cells as exemplified for various model organisms.

Within this program we intend to study SOCS proteins in more detail. Although it was initially described that SOCS proteins interfere with cytokine receptors by inhibiting their Janus kinase activity it now turns out that SOCS1 also acts as nuclear E3 ubiquitin ligase. In turn this implies that regulation occurs also at the level of transcription factor stability. Here we want to study the role of SOCS1 for the regulation of further signaling cascades that are studied by the cooperating members of this program.

Further information on my lab:



Prof. Dr. med. Alexander Dalpke
Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene
Im Neuenheimer Feld 324
69120 Heidelberg
Phone+49 6221 56 38173
Fax+49 6221 56 5857