Hidde Ploegh, PhD

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA

2008 B Cells

Hidde Ploegh, PhDIn lupus, B cells are believed to prompt and mediate the immune system’s misdirected attack on the body’s own tissues and organs.

With LRI funding, Dr. Ploegh will manipulate B cell signaling in laboratory mice with lupus by interfering in a novel pathway through a protein called Toll Like Receptor 9 (TLR9).

TLR9 is one of the 13-member family of proteins called Toll-like receptors (TLRs) critical to activating immune system cell responses. TLR9 is made initially as an inactive protein which is then converted to the active form through cleavage. By generating new clues to the biology of TLR9, in particular by finding out how TLR9 is activated and elucidating the identity of other proteins that bind to TLR9, Dr. Ploegh aims to develop a new way to prevent or reduce the production of the auto-antibodies that cause lupus.