University of Dundee

‘Neutrophil biology from development to lysis ’

Event Date: 
Thursday, March 28, 2019 - 13:00
Event Location: 
MSI Small Lecture Theatre
Professor Paul Crocker FRSE
Event Speaker: 
Dr Gabriel Sollberger
Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
Event Type: 

All Welcome








Neutrophils are essential innate immune cells that are able to combat invading pathogens by using a variety of antimicrobial mechanisms. These mechanisms include phagocytosis of microorganisms, release of antimicrobials by degranulation and the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), a cell death pathway during which neutrophils expel their DNA, covered with antimicrobial proteins, into the extracellular space. Neutrophils build the molecular components required for their antimicrobial activity during their development in the bone marrow and enter circulation as short-lived, terminally differentiated cells. Due to their short life, mature neutrophils are not accessible to genetic manipulation and therefore many of their defense mechanisms remain incompletely understood.

Using the formation of NETs as a neutrophil-specific mechanism and employing chemical screening, I found that the pore-forming protein gasdermin D is crucial for the formation of NETs. Additionally I used genetic screening in neutrophil precursor cells and thereby identified novel regulators of neutrophil differentiation. Both methods are therefore suitable to tackle open questions in the field of neutrophil biology and to shed light onto the unique defense mechanisms of those fascinating cells.