Pinto-Fernández Group: Translational Ubiquitomics - Cancer Immunology
Our research group was established in 2021.
Our lab has an interest in studying how cellular Ubiquitylation and ISGylation influence cancer inflammation with the final aim of translating these findings into valid therapeutic targets. To study these pathways we use state-of-the-art MS-based omics techniques such as proteomics and lipidomics in combination with immunology and cellular biology functional assays.
Current research involves the study of the roles of a class of druggable enzymes called deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) in cancer inflammation using advanced proteomics, lipidomics, and immunology techniques as main tools.
For instance, we have recently discovered that cancer cells lacking the DUB USP18, a negative regulator of the interferon pathway, are more antigenic and radiosensitive. At a molecular level, USP18-deficient cells accumulate innate immune ligands such as dsRNA, enhance the antigen presentation machinery, and hence they can activate more efficiently cytotoxic T cells, resulting in enhanced T cell killing and immunotherapy responses.
Pinto-Fernandez, A., Salio, M., Partridge, T. et al. Deletion of the deISGylating enzyme USP18 enhances tumour cell antigenicity and radiosensitivity. Br J Cancer 124, 817–830 (2021). (DOI: 10.1038/s41416-020-01167-y).
Other relevant references:
We are experts in the study of the ubiquitin system in disease-relevant models using advanced ubiquitomics (GG-petidomics), activity-based protein profiling (ABPP), proteomics, lipidomics, chemical biology, cellular biology, and immunology techniques. These methodologies and matching data analysis approaches can be applied and learnt in our laboratory. Importantly, as part of the COI-NDM environment, we have access to cutting-edge technology assuring the highest available standards in terms of data quality.
Finally, our laboratory has been always very interested in the translational aspect of our research and as a consequence, we have been involved in a number of collaborations with industry partners (including Pfizer, Incyte, Xcellomics, ONO, FORMA therapeutics, and others). This provides an excellent opportunity to learn the complementary research dynamics happening in pharmaceutical companies.
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