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 a form called p110δ. The activation of p110δ 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 p110δ is expressed at very low levels in other organs in the body, it is thought that targeting p110δ 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 p110δ 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

A protocol for construction of gene targeting vectors and generation of homologous recombinant embryonic stem cells.

H Bouabe, K Okkenhaug

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
1064 :337-54 (2013)

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-62703-601-6_24

PMID: 23996269

Gene targeting in mice: a review.

H Bouabe, K Okkenhaug

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
1064 :315-36 (2013)

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-62703-601-6_23

PMID: 23996268

Rules of engagement: distinct functions for the four class I PI3K catalytic isoforms in immunity.

K Okkenhaug

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
1280 :24-6 (2013)

DOI: 10.1111/nyas.12027

PMID: 23551098

Signaling by the phosphoinositide 3-kinase family in immune cells.

K Okkenhaug

Annual review of immunology
31 :675-704 (2013)

DOI: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-032712-095946

PMID: 23330955

The Therapeutic Potential for PI3K Inhibitors in Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases.

E Banham-Hall, MR Clatworthy, K Okkenhaug

The open rheumatology journal
6 :245-58 (2012)

DOI: 10.2174/1874312901206010245

PMID: 23028409

Blockade of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase PI3Kδ or PI3Kγ reduces IL-17 and ameliorates imiquimod-induced psoriasis-like dermatitis.

A Roller, A Perino, P Dapavo

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)
189 9:4612-20 (2012)

DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1103173

PMID: 23024273

Does the PI3K pathway promote or antagonize regulatory T cell development and function?

DR Soond, EC Slack, OA Garden

Frontiers in immunology
3 :244 (2012)

DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00244

PMID: 22912633

Pten loss in CD4 T cells enhances their helper function but does not lead to autoimmunity or lymphoma.

DR Soond, F Garçon, DT Patton

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)
188 12:5935-43 (2012)

DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1102116

PMID: 22611241