George Ongwae of the Pires Research Group

Graduate student George Ongwae will present

"Innate Immune Response Modulation by Design Molecules"

on March 27, 2018 at 4:10 PM in Neville Hall, Room 3.



The innate immune system represents the first line of host-cell defense against an invading antigen.  Immune responses depend on molecular patterns presented by pathogens.  As an example, presence of N-formylmethionine, a conserved motif in bacterial proteins, activates leukocytes by binding to the human formyl peptide receptor leading to stimulation of phagocytosis.  Similarly, the family of toll-like receptors (TLRs) sense viral and bacterial molecular patterns and trigger a cascade of events that end in upregulation of inflammatory cytokines.  Innate responses are crucial to combating microbes but can also result in sever inflammatory disorders that are potentially life-threatening.  Immune-response modulators are potential therapeutics that have shown promising early results in the various disease models.

In this seminar, a glimpse into innate-immune response modulation will be provided by way of three papers: (1) a study that identified a small molecule that binds to TLR8, thus, preventing its activation.  Suppression of TLR8- mediated proinflammation was confirmed in cultured cells, (2) a report that described the dependency of immune activation on the clustering of TLRs.  Clustering of TLRs was found to be mediated by synthetic dimers of ligands and lastly, (3) a study that used the N-formylmethionine motif to trigger an immune response against tumor cells in live mice, thus leading to tumor reduction.


  1. Shuting, Z.; Zhenyi, H.; Hiromi, T.; Shungshuang, J.; Nabanita, D.; Jing, L.; Kentaro, S.; Jin, J.; Yanyan, B.; Umeharu, O.; Toshiyuki, S.; Hang, Y., Nature Chemical Biology, 2018, volume 14, p58-64
  2. Keun, A.H.; HYPERLINK "" Katarzyna, S.; Troy, M.; Aaron Esser-Kahn. ACS Chem. Biol., 2016, 11 (12), pp 3347-3352
  3. Manuel, B.; Andre, J. G. P.; Julia, S.; Karine, T.; Janett, S.; Anne, C.C.; Matthias, B.; Frank, T.; Christian, F. W. B, Scientific Reports., 2017, volume 7, Article number: 17592


Tuesday, March 27, 2018


George Ongwae