Professor of Biological Sciences
The Rule laboratory studies the DNA-modifying enzyme activation induced cytosine deaminase (AID), which plays a central role in the vertebrate acquired immune response. AID is induced in antibody producing B-cells after they have become activated by the binding of foreign material to their cell surface receptors. The deamination events catalyzed by AID are responsible for hypermutation of the V-regions of the antibody gene, resulting in the production of antibodies that bind more tightly to the foreign material. In addition, the activity of enzyme is also responsible for changing the type of heavy chain (class switching) to tailor the response of the immune system to a particular pathogen. Currently, the structure of AID is unknown, consequently it is difficult to understand how the enzyme binds to DNA, how it causes deamination, and how it may interact with additional proteins in the cell. Our laboratory is currently exploring methods of producing large amounts of this enzyme for biophysical and structural studies.
Lab Webpage: http://www.cmu.edu/bio/contacts/faculty/rule.shtml