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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name



Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Yuan He


The innate immune system is the first line of host defense against pathogens and cellular damage. Inflammasomes play a pivotal role in the innate immune system. Failure of inflammasome activation leads to defects in the clearance of infections. P2X7R is a trimeric, ion-gated receptor for extracellular ATP. Its involvement in apoptotic, inflammatory pathways is reported, making this receptor a distinctive and pharmacological target. P2X7R-mediated signaling activates the NLRP3 inflammasome in response to ATP. Recent studies uncovered the full-length P2X7R structure and its unique cytoplasmic terminal. We hypothesize that P2X7R-mediated NLRP3 inflammasome activation in response to ATP is regulated by their interacting proteins. As it has a distinct C-terminal, this C-terminal might have been involved in NLRP3 inflammasome activation. To investigate, we have prepared P2X7R constructs that will be used in the future to identify novel regulators of P2X7R and to study the structural mechanism of P2X7R in NLRP3 inflammasome activation.

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