Our interests are autoantigens and autoantibodies associated with systemic autoimmune diseases and cancer. Our two main directions are:
To identify and characterize specific target antigens of human autoantibodies with a focus on understanding why autoantibodies are induced and continually produced in different disease states.
- To use human autoantibodies as unique probes to investigate the molecular and cell biology of interesting macromolecules and subcellular organelles which have become autoimmune targets.
The overall strategy is that by understanding the biology of autoantigens in health and disease states, we may be able to fully appreciate the functional and pathogenic potentials of autoantibodies.
Our laboratory is actively characterizing the mRNA associated protein GW182, which is a macromolecule marker of novel cytoplasmic compartments known as GW bodies (GWBs). The most common clinical diagnosis of patients with anti-GW182 antibodies is Sjögren’s syndrome, followed by neurological disease (motor and sensory neuropathy and/or ataxia) and systemic lupus erythematosus. Several novel autoantigens have been identified in GWBs and we focus on their roles in the regulation of RNA interference.