Characterizing steptococcus pyogenes infection in hexokinase 2 deficient macrophages.

Summer 2017

Christopher Hernandez : Molecular and Environmental Biology

Mentor: Sarah Stanley

It was recently discovered that hexokinase 2, a cellular metabolic enzyme, can act as a pathogen pattern recognition receptor and activator of the inflammasome within macrophages. Specifically, hexokinase 2 is activated by a saccharide subunit of the peptidoglycan cell wall found in many bacteria. Gram + bacteria have a greater abundance of cell wall subunits available for recognition and therefore have a greater potential to activate, and therefore be controlled by, hexokinase 2. We will characterize the importance of hexokinase 2 in mediating an immune response by infecting murine macrophages deficient in hexokinase 2 enzyme. 

This has been one of the most important experiences I have received during my time at Berkeley. I have always been interested in medical research but actually getting to do work that could answer important questions has really encouraged me to continue my education. Additionally, the connections I made with professionals in my field will be invaluable. I have been able to create a support group that will help me pave the way to getting a PhD in immunology. Thank you for this opportunity.