Nationality: International Students
Start date: September 1, 2021
Application deadlines: Open immediately and will close once filled.
The innate immune system is the first line of defense against viral infection. Viral nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA induce potent immune responses. The detection of viral nucleic acids is an important strategy by which the host senses infection and initiates protective immune responses. The cGAS-STING pathway plays a central role in the innate immune response towards viral infection. As a leading player in the structural characterization of the cGAS-STING signaling pathway, we have contributed broadly and significantly to this field. We have determined the crystal structures of cGAS in isolation and in complex with an 18 bp dsDNA (Li et al. Immunity 2013). We have also determined the structures of STING ligand binding domain in isolation and in complex with c-di-GMP and cGAMP (Shu et al. NSMB 2012). Moreover, we have solved the structures of mouse TBK1 bound the C-terminal tail of STING, providing insights into the mechanism of TBK1 recruitment and activation by STING (Zhao et al. Nature 2019). In a recent study, we have determined the structure of cGAS bound to the nucleosome by cryo-EM, which reveals the molecular basis of cGAS nuclear tethering and inactivation (Zhao et al. Nature 2020).
Molecular biology, cell biology, and structural biology
Texas A&M University is equipped state of the art facilities to conduct structural studies by X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM. A new Titan Krios electron microscope will be installed in the department of biochemistry and biophysics this year. Other cryo-EM facilities are available at the center of microscopy where the lab is located.
Please send emails to Dr. Pingwei Li at [email protected] to apply. The applications will be evaluated immediately and jobs will be offered soon afterward.