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Research project

Variats of mast cell tryptase as markers and mediators of inflammation and tissue remodelling in asthma

Project overview

Tryptase, the major product of human mast cells, is emerging as a key mediator of inflammation and tissue remodelling in asthma and other allergic conditions. This tetrameric serine protease is often considered as a single enzyme, but multiple sequences have been derived, and a family of related proteases mapped to chromosome 16p13.3. We shall investigate the degree of genetic variation at this site in families with bronchial asthma, and examine the potential for linkage with features of disease. Alpha tryptase will be purified from a recombinant expression system and enzymatic properties investigated with synthetic and natural substrates. Comparison will be made with the more extensively studied beta tryptases, and the degree to which heterotypic tetramers may form will be examined. The cellular expression and release will be examined of alpha and beta of tryptase in vitro, and in vivo in body fluids from patients with allergic conditions. The ability of alpha tryptase to stimulate altered gene expression in epithelial cells and airway smooth muscle cells will be investigated using microarray procedures, and compared with the patterns with beta tryptase. The release of selected cytokines, matrix components or mediators, and the rate of cell proliferation in response to alpha and beta tryptases will be investigated, exploring potential proteolytic and non-proteolytic mechanisms. The abilities of alpha tryptase to provoke pro-inflammatory changes following transfer to a guinea pig model will be assessed and compared with those of beta tryptase. This integrative biology approach should yield crucial information on the mediator actions of human tryptases and their potential as targets for therapeutic intervention.


Lead researcher

Dr Andrew Walls

Other researchers

Professor John Holloway PhD, FHEA

Associate V-P Interdisciplinary Research

Research interests

  • Human genetics
  • Epigenetics
  • Respiratory Disease

Research outputs

Mohammad Omar J Alzahrani,
Mohammed Aref Kyyaly,
, 2020 , World Allergy Organization Journal , 13 (8)
Type: article
Stephen Hayes,
Timothy Charles Biggs,
Philip G. Harries,
Raymond Allan,
, 2020 , Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology , 145 (1) , 147--159
Type: article
Timothy Charles Biggs,
Rana Abadalkareem,
Stephen Hayes,
Rebecca Emma Holding,
Laurie Lau,
P.G. Harries,
Raymond Allan,
, 2020 , Allergy
Type: letterEditorial
Timothy, Charles Biggs,
Stephen Hayes,
Philip G. Harries,
Raymond Allan,
, 2019 , Rhinology , 57 (5) , 336--342
Type: article
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