Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Klaus Okkenhaug

Our group focuses on how a group of enzymes called phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are used by cells of the immune system to instruct and coordinate defences against pathogens. Cells of the immune system can express up to eight different forms of PI3K, which act as second messenger signalling molecules within cells that control diverse of cellular functions and genetic programmes.

Our group tries to dissect the unique roles played by individual forms of PI3K with particular focus on their roles in B cells and T cells. We also ask what the effect of inhibiting or enhancing the activity of individual forms of PI3K has on immunity to infections.

Most of our work to date has focused on PI3Kδ. The activation of PI3Kδ is one of the first events that happen inside a T cell or B cell when it first is exposed to a foreign antigen. Because PI3Kδ is expressed at very low levels in other organs in the body, it is thought that targeting PI3K with drugs may be an effective way to suppress immune responses without some of the side effects associated with many immunosuppressive drugs in current use.

We therefore work closely with colleagues in pharmaceutical companies who have developed specific inhibitors against PI3Kδ or other forms of PI3K to help predict and understand the effect of such drugs on the immune system.

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Latest Publications

BACH2 regulates CD8(+) T cell differentiation by controlling access of AP-1 factors to enhancers.

Roychoudhuri R, Clever D, Li P

Nature immunology
1529-2916: (2016)

PMID: 27158840

The transcription factor BACH2 promotes tumor immunosuppression.

Roychoudhuri R, Eil RL, Clever D

The Journal of clinical investigation
1558-8238: (2016)

PMID: 26731475

Oncogenic PI3Kα promotes multipotency in breast epithelial cells.

Okkenhaug K, Roychoudhuri R

Science signaling
8 1937-9145:pe3 (2015)

PMID: 26535006

PI3K Signaling in Normal B Cells and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).

Okkenhaug K, Burger JA

Current topics in microbiology and immunology
393 0070-217X:123-42 (2016)

PMID: 26350103

Editorial: Lipid Signaling in T Cell Development and Function.

Sauer K, Okkenhaug K

Frontiers in immunology
6 1664-3224:410 (2015)

PMID: 26322043

PI3Kδ Regulates the Magnitude of CD8+ T Cell Responses after Challenge with Listeria monocytogenes.

Pearce VQ, Bouabe H, MacQueen AR

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)
1550-6606: (2015)

PMID: 26311905

Cowden's syndrome with immunodeficiency.

Browning MJ, Chandra A, Carbonaro V

Journal of medical genetics
52 1468-6244:856-9 (2015)

PMID: 26246517

PI3K inhibitors in inflammation, autoimmunity and cancer.

Stark AK, Sriskantharajah S, Hessel EM

Current opinion in pharmacology
23 1471-4973:82-91 (2015)

PMID: 26093105

PI3K Signaling in B Cell and T Cell Biology.

Okkenhaug K, Turner M, Gold MR

Frontiers in immunology
5 1664-3224:557 (2014)

PMID: 25404931