Professor and Director of the Centre
531 boul. des Prairies, Laval
(Québec) H7V 1B7
Because of their potent microbicidal and tumoricidal capacities, macrophages play a major role in the immune response. Macrophage functions are not constitutive, being rather acquired (activation) in the presence of molecules such as cytokines or microbial-derived products. Binding of these molecules at the surface of a resting macrophage triggers intracellular signalling pathways, which culminate in the acquisition of phenotypes allowing the macrophage to perform specific immune functions. One of my objectives is to gain a better knowledge of the molecular mechanisms leading to macrophage activation in the context of host defense. We concentrate our efforts on the role of a family of kinases known as protein kinase C (PKC), which play a key role in intracellular signalling.
We also investigate the interaction between the intracellular parasite Leishmania and the macrophage. Leishmania evolved various strategies to avoid or manipulate host immune defenses. One of these strategies consists in modulating host cell intracellular signalling pathways. Since Leishmania interferes with macrophage activation through inhibition of PKCs, studying the underlying mechanisms will enhance our understanding of macrophage function regulation. Another strategy used by intracellular parasites, including the promastigote form of Leishmania, consists in remodelling the vacuole in which they replicate. Defining the underlying mechanisms will contribute to our knowledge of basic microbial pathogenesis problems..