Researchers at the Hoffmann lab focus on the roles of dietary selenium and selenoproteins in immune responses.
Our studies have uncovered mechanisms by which dietary selenium affects immunity against pathogens, during allergic asthma, and in response to vaccines. We also have employed several knockout models to determine specific roles for individual selenoproteins in immune responses.
Our recently published study involving dietary selenium and T helper (Th) immune responses demonstrated selenium supplementation producing a skewing of T cell responses toward Th1-type responses, which are key responses for fighting cancer. In addition, we have identified a key selenoprotein involved in activation of immune cells, selenoprotein K (Sel K).
Over the past three years, we have developed a novel knockout mouse model in which Sel K is deleted and we have shown that these mice are susceptible to viral infections. Our recent publication in the Journal of Immunology characterized the Sel K knockout mice in terms of in vivo immune system development, leukocyte activation and migration, cytokine production, and anti-viral immunity. We have shown that Sel K is localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of immune cells and is important for calcium flux from the ER during immune cell activation. Sel K-deletion resulted in impaired immunity against West Nile virus and future studies are focused on further elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which Sel K regulates immune cell function.
To learn more about our research projects, please click here.
Dr. Peter Hoffman
Note: the Pubs links will take
you to an external site.