Tarun K. Dam
Michigan Technological University
United States of America
Antigen presenting cells (APCs) that protect our body from internal and external threats, express an array of glycan-binding proteins or lectins. These lectins recognize cancer antigens as well as the surface structures of pathogens and help immune cells interact with tumor cells and invading pathogens. Depending on certain factors, these interactions either help eliminate the detrimental pathogens and tumors (immunity) or lead to a tolerant environment where tumors and pathogens thrive (immune tolerance). The lab's main goal is to determine the mechanistic basis of the factors that regulate the balance between immunity and immune tolerance. Many pathogens also express glycan-binding proteins and use them for host invasion. We study the structure-function relationship of such pathogenic proteins. The findings of our research would potentially elucidate novel immunobiological pathways and help develop new drugs and vaccine strategies. The lab also works in the area of plant lectins. We use plant lectins as model and surrogate proteins to study the mechanistic basis of protein-glycan interaction, investigate the nutritional aspects of lectins from edible plants and are interested in developing novel detection and separation devices using plant lectins. Such devices would be useful for glycomics, glycoproteomics and various bio-analytical and bio- detection techniques.
Molecular basis of glycan (carbohydrate)-mediated biological functions, Glycan binding, proteins or lectins, Glycan detection, Mechanistic glycobiology, Macromolecular communication, Biomolecular thermodynamics
Dam, T. K., Gerken, T. A. and Brewer, C. F. Thermodynamics of multivalent carbohydrate-lectin cross-linking interactions: importance of entropy in the bind and jump mechanism. Biochemistry, 48, 3822-3827 (2009).
Dam, T. K. and Brewer, C. F., Lectins as pattern recognition molecules: the effects of epitope density in innate immunity. Glycobiology 20, 270-279 (2010).
Dam, T. K. and Brewer, C. F., Maintenance of cell surface glycan density by lectin-glycan interactions: a homeostatic and innate immune regulatory mechanism. Glycobiology 20, 1061-1064 (2010).