Dr Claire McCoy

Dr Claire McCoy obtained a BA (Mod) in Biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin in 2001 and her PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Dundee in 2006. During her first postdoctoral position with Professor Luke O’Neill in Trinity College Dublin, she was awarded a prestigious HRB / Marie Curie mobility fellowship in 2010, which enabled her to conduct her research at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research. In 2015, she was awarded an NHMRC New Investigator award.

Dr McCoy’s research focuses primarily on the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 and its role in the regulation of microRNAs. MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules that play an essential role in fine-tuning gene expression required for all functional responses in the cell, including the immune system. Moreover, the detection and modulation of microRNAs in disease offer an exciting and rapidly advancing novel approach to therapy. Dr McCoy discovered that IL-10 can potently inhibit miR-155, a pro-inflammatory and oncogenic microRNA, whose up-regulation has been linked to inflammatory disorders such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, colitis and arthritis, as well as cancers, particularly B cell lymphoma. Her findings suggest that the IL-10/miR-155 axis is a novel mechanism utilised by IL-10 to administer its function in cells of the immune system. Furthermore, it creates an opportunity to develop an alternative approach for the use of IL-10 therapeutically through the modulation of miR-155. The aims of her research are as follows:

  • To understand how IL-10 mechanistically inhibits miR-155 in cells of the immune system.
  • To elucidate the genes regulated by the IL-10/miR-155 axis.
  • To establish the biological and therapeutical importance of IL-10 inhibition on miR-155 in disease models.

Selected publications

  • McCoy CE (2017) miR-155 Dysregulation and Therapeutic Intervention in Multiple Sclerosis. Adv Exp Med Biol 1024:111-131.

  • Lyons VG, McCoy CE (2016) Simple methods to investigate microRNA induction in response to Toll-like receptors. Methods Mol Biol 1390:159-182.

  • Fairfax KA, Gantier MP, Mackay F, Williams BR, McCoy CE (2015) IL-10 regulates Aicda expression through miR-155. J Leukoc Biol 97:71-78

  • Quinn SR, Mangan NE, Caffrey BE, Gantier MP, Williams BR, Hertzog PJ, McCoy CE*, O’Neill LA* (2014) The role of Ets2 transcription factor in the induction of microRNA-155 (miR-155) by lipopolysaccharide and its targeting by interleukin-10. J Biol Chem 289:4316-4325. (*equal contribution)

  • Collins AS*, McCoy CE*, Lloyd AT, O’Farrelly C, Stevenson NJ (2013) miR-19a: an effective regulator of SOCS3 and enhancer of JAK-STAT signalling. PLoS One 8:e69090. (*equal contribution)

  • Dowling JK, McCoy CE, Doyle SL, BenLarbi N, Canavan M, O’Neill LA, Loscher CE (2013) Conjugated linoleic acid suppresses IRF3 activation via modulation of CD14. J Nutr Biochem 24:920-928.

  • McCoy CE (2012) Alternative regulatory mechanisms of TLR signalling: nucleic acid sensors and antiviral immunity. In Nucleic Acid Sensors and Antiviral Immunity. Sambhara S, Fujita T, eds. Landes Bioscience. pp 58-70.

  • Gantier MP, Stunden HJ, McCoy CE, Behlke MA, Wang D, Kaparakis-Liaskos M, Sarvestani ST, Yang YH, Xu D, Corr SC, Morand EF, Williams BR (2012) A miR-19 regulon that controls NF-kappaB signaling. Nucleic Acids Res 40:8048-8058.

  • McCoy CE (2011) The role of miRNAs in cytokine signaling. Front Biosci 16:2161-2171.

  • O’Neill LA, Sheedy FJ*, McCoy CE* (2011) MicroRNAs: the fine-tuners of Toll-like receptor signalling. Nat Rev Immunol 11:163-175. (*equal contribution)

  • Gantier MP*, McCoy CE*, Rusinova I, Saulep D, Wang D, Xu D, Irving AT, Behlke MA, Hertzog PJ, Mackay F, Williams BR (2011) Analysis of microRNA turnover in mammalian cells following Dicer1 ablation. Nucleic Acids Res 39:5692-5703. (*equal contribution)

  • McCoy CE, Sheedy FJ, Qualls JE, Doyle SL, Quinn SR, Murray PJ, O’Neill LA (2010) IL-10 inhibits miR-155 induction by Toll-like receptors. J Biol Chem 285:20492-20498.