Molecular recognition of cholesterol crystals
Project leader: Latz
The NLRP3 inflammasome recognises danger signals including crystalline substances. NLRP3 inflammasome activation induced the production of the highly pro-inflammatory IL-1b cytokines. NLRP3 can be triggerd by cholesterol crystals, which form in atherosclerotic lesions and other tissues during hypercholesterolemia. In this proposal we will identify factors in the serum that mediate cholesterol crystal dissolution and that can trigger immune cell activation. In addition, we will characterise surface receptors on macrophages that interact with cholesterol crystals and mediate their phagocytosis. The identification of interactors with cholesterol crystals may reveal novel therapeutic targets.