Viral activation of autophagy
The Wileman group at the Quadram Institute studies how viruses activate autophagy during cell entry and replication. Autophagy is an important arm of innate immunity to infection, and is a powerful means of removing intracellular pathogens. Impaired autophagy has been linked to Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
We are interested in understanding how autophagy, and a related pathway called LC3-associated phagocytosis, are activated during infection and determining their effects on the outcome of disease. Recent genome wide association screens have identified mutations in autophagy gene called Atg16L1 as a risk allele for Crohn’s disease. We are investigating whether the inflammation seen in Crohn’s disease is caused by defects in the control of microorganisms by autophagy and LC3-associated phagocytosis in gut epithelial cells.