Intracellular and extracellular anti-HIV responses
Intracellular anti-HIV responses that are mediated by TRIM19 are being studied at the level of protein-protein interactions. A short amino acid sequence is attached to the PML protein, enabling the purification and characterization of PML-associated proteins from virus infected or uninfected cells. In addition, a manually curated network of all PML nuclear body interactions available through databases and literature has been set up (click here for download of the network). Recently, a network that maps the numerous interactions between PML-NBs and viruses, was added (click here for download of the network).
Expression and distribution of other anti-HIV proteins such as TRIM5a and APOBEC3G is being studied in immune cells (CD4+, CD8+, monocytes…) of uninfected, HIV-infected and HIV-resistant individuals (ESN or Exposed Seronegatives).
Extracellular anti-HIV responses. Proteins and peptides of cervico-vaginal washings from healthy individuals are being studied in order to catalogue the many different antimicrobial peptides and proteins that are present in the cervico-gaginal fluid. This work lies the basis for further research on biomarkers for cervix carcinoma (comparison of samples from healthy patients versus samples from precancerous patients). Furthermore, by comparison of cervico-vaginal proteomes from uninfected vs. ESN individuals, we aim to correlate proteome profiles of ESNs and their anti-HIV status.
Proteomics of human adult progenitor cells
In collaboration with Regenesys BVBA (Heverlee, Belgium) and Fertipro NV (Beernem, Belgium) we recently started a project wherein growth conditions of human adult progenitor cells (MultiStem®), isolated from human bone marrow, are being studied. In order to meet European guidelines, these cells must be grown in a complete synthetic medium without addition of animal substantia (eg. FCS) as is now the case. Proteomics techniques are therefore applied to identify the secretome of these cells after which growth-promoting and/or differentiating capacities of some characterised proteins on the progenitor cells will be investigated.