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Prof. Vojo Peter Deretic from University of New Mexico Visited IBP and Delivered the BEI Shizhang Lecture

Updated: 2017-04-01

On Mar. 21, 2017, Prof. Vojo Peter Deretic visited Institute of Biophysics (IBP), CAS and gave a lecture entitled Autophagy and SNAREs in two different terminations of the pathway, a Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon story. This lecture, which is a part of the special lecture series of BEI Shizhang Lecture of IBP, was hosted by Prof. LIU Zhihua.

Vojo Deretic, Ph.D., is Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He received his undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral education in Belgrade, Paris, and Chicago. Dr. Deretic's main contributions to science come from studies by his team on the role of autophagy in infection and immunity. His group is one of those that made the discovery that autophagic degradation is a major effector of innate and possibly adaptive immunity mechanisms for direct elimination of intracellular microbes (such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis).

More recent studies by the Deretic laboratory have shown that autophagy in mammalian cells plays not only a degradative role but that it also carries the task of unconventional secretion of immunologically active cytoplasmic proteins, such as IL-1beta and others. These proteins normally reside in the cytosol but exert their functions extracellularly. Other recent studies in Dr. Deretic's laboratory have uncovered that a large family of proteins termed TRIMs, playing immune and other roles but with incompletely understood function(s), acts as autophagic receptors and regulators in mammalian cells. TRIMs organize autophagic machinery in mammalian cells to carry out a highly selective or "precision" autophagy of their targets. An independent series of studies from Dr. Deretic's group show how the human immunity related GTPase IRGM works in autophagy by demonstrating IRGM's direct interactions with the core autophagy (ATG) factors, and their assembly and activation enabling them to carry out antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory autophagic functions of significance in tuberculosis and Crohn's disease. The latest studies in Dr. Deretic’s laboratory show how differential assemblies of SNAREs, proteins that catalyze membrane fusion, govern different terminations of the autophagy pathway.

Prof. Vojo Peter Deretic gave the lecture with vivid words, rigorous logic and great passion, which could be a lively lesson for the audience. After the lecture, Prof. Vojo Peter Deretic and the audience shared their views on the issues of common interest.


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