Cancer and Immune Signalling

ResearchCentre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases > Cancer and Immune Signalling

ciiid-image2Cancer and Immune Signalling

Research Group Head: Professor Brendan Jenkins

The projects undertaken in this group combine molecular biological and genetic approaches, together with human translational studies, to identify the mechanisms by which uncontrolled signal transduction from the interleukin (IL)-6 cytokine family, pattern recognition receptors (such as toll-like receptors) and inflammasomes lead to inflammation-associated cancers (stomach, lung, pancreatic) and emphysema/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The IL-6 cytokine family plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis of various biological systems, including pulmonary function, the gastrointestinal tract, and immune/inflammatory responses. Furthermore, the deregulated over-production of IL-6 family cytokines is implicated in many human cancers, (stomach, lung, pancreatic, colon), inflammatory diseases (arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease), and emphysema/COPD. To identify how IL-6 family cytokines promote disease pathogenesis, Professor Jenkins’ team uses in vivo pre-clinical disease models in which specific signalling pathways downstream of IL-6 family cytokines are over-activated. Using this approach, they have demonstrated the broad pathological consequences of uncontrolled activation of the Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3 pathway. While these studies demonstrate that STAT3 activated by specific members of this cytokine family promote cancer and chronic inflammatory responses, they have also uncovered that under certain situations the JAK/STAT3 pathway cross-talks with toll-like receptors and other pattern recognition receptors (including those linked to inflammasome activation) to drive disease.

Research Projects:

Role of Toll-like receptors in gastro-intestinal cancers
Cross-talk between cytokine signalling pathways and inflammasomes in gastro-intestinal cancers
Regulation of microRNAs by cytokine signalling pathways in gastro-intestinal cancers
Role of IL-6 signalling pathways in emphysema (COPD) and lung cancer

Research Group:

Professor Brendan Jenkins (Research Group Head)
Dr Saleela Ruwanpura (Post-doctoral Fellow)
Dr Alison West (Post-doctoral Fellow)
Dr Liang Yu (Post-doctoral Fellow)
Dr Virginie Deswaerte (Post-doctoral Fellow)
Louise McLeod (Senior Research Assistant)
Thaleia Livis (Research Assistant)
Jesse Balic (PhD student)
William Berry (PhD student)
Gavin Brooks (PhD student)
Sultan Alhayyani (PhD student)
Ke “Mike” Tang

Jenkins lab 2015

Selected publications:

Greenhill, C.J., Rose-John, S., Lissilaa, R., Ferlin, W., Ernst, M.,Hertzog, P.J., Mansell, A., JENKINS, B.J. (2011) IL-6 Trans-Signaling Modulates TLR4-Dependent Inflammatory Responses via STAT3. J. Immunol. 186:1199-1208.

Ruwanpura, S.M., McLeod, L., Miller, A., Jones, J., Bozinovski, S., Vlahos, R., Ernst, M., Armes, J., Bardin, P.G., Anderson, G.P., JENKINS, B.J. (2011) Interleukin-6 promotes pulmonary emphysema associated with apoptosis in mice. Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. 45:720-730.

Tye, H., Kennedy, C.L., Najdovska, M., McLeod, L., McCormack, W., Hughes, N., Dev, A., Sievert, W., Ooi, C.H., Ishikawa, T-o., Oshima, H., Bhathal, P.S., Parker, A.E., Oshima, M., Tan, P., JENKINS, B.J.(2012). STAT3-driven Upregulation of TLR2 Promotes Gastric Tumorigenesis Independent of Tumor Inflammation. Cancer Cell. 22:466-478

Kennedy, C.L., Najdovska, M., Tye, H., McLeod, L., Yu, L., Jarnicki, A., Bhathal, P.S., Putoczski, T., Ernst, M., JENKINS, B.J. (2014). Differential role of MyD88 and Mal/TIRAP in TLR2-mediated gastric tumourigenesis. Oncogene. 33:2540-2546.

Miller, A., McLeod, L., Brooks, G., Ruwanpura, S.M., JENKINS, B.J. (2015) Differential involvement of gp130 signalling pathways in modulating tobacco carcinogen-induced lung tumourigenesis. Oncogene. 34:1510-1519.

Jones, G.W., Bombardieri, M., Greenhill, C.J., McLeod, L., Rocher, V., Williams, A.S., Pitzalis, C., JENKINS, B.J.,* Jones, S.A.* (2015) Interleukin-27 inhibits ectopic lymphoid-like structure development in early inflammatory arthritis. J Exp Med. 212:1793-1802. *Senior co-author.

Brooks, G., McLeod, L., Alhayyani, S., Miller, A., Russell, P.A., Ferlin, W., Rose-John, S, Ruwanpura, S.M., JENKINS, B.J. IL-6 trans-signaling promotes KRAS-driven lung carcinogenesis. (2016) Cancer Res. In press.