Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Our main research interest focuses on T-cell antigen receptor (TCR)-directed signal transduction pathways in T lymphocytes, as well as a comparative analysis of signal transduction mechanisms in normal versus transformed cells. We aim at identifying and characterizing the mechanism of action of several important effector molecules in T lymphocytes and study their role in the immunological synapse. Among the proteins that we study are protein kinase C theta (PKCÎ¸), ZAP-70, Crk and PICOT. PKCÎ¸ and ZAP-70 are essential for the regulation of T lymphocyte activation and differentiation, are key molecules in the immunological synapse of TCR triggered T cells, and their absence leads to immune deficiencies. The Crk adaptor proteins are involved in the regulation of signaling mechanisms downstream of the TCR, while PICOT, which associates with PKCÎ¸ in T lymphocytes and was found to be essential for embryonic development is highly expressed in several types of malignancies, including human leukemia, although its exact biological role is still enigmatic.