CD40 is a member of the TNF receptor superfamily that is expressed on a variety of hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells. CD40 is relevant to a broad array of diseases since CD40 is crucial for protection against many pathogens (Toxoplasma, Mycobacteria, Salmonella, Cryptosporydium, Cryptococcus, etc), and CD40 drives various diseases that have an inflammatory component (systemic lupus erythematosus and other autoimmune disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, graft rejection, microvascular complications of diabetes, atherosclerosis, ischemic tissue injury, etc).
Dr. Subauste's laboratory studies both aspects of CD40 biology.
1. His laboratory studies how CD40 confers protection against pathogens. The main focus is to determine how CD40 stimulates autophagy to kill T. gondii and the strategies used by the parasite to avoid autophagic killing. This is leading to testing novel therapeutic modalities against toxoplasmosis in mouse models of this disease.
2. Identification of novel strategies to block CD40-induced inflammation while attempting to preserve protection against pathogens. This work is being conducted in models of diabetes using transgenic mice made in the laboratory.