The Wolf Lab studies the importance of degradation of the bacterial cell wall to degree and duration of the inflammatory responses of phagocytic cells to bacteria. During degradation of cell wall peptidoglycan, a large amount of the sugar n-acetylglucosamine is generated and interferes with the glycolytic metabolism of the phagocytic cell. The cells sense danger and trigger activation of the innate immune signaling complex called the NRLP3 inflammasome, leading to the production of the potent inflammatory cytokine, IL-1ϐ.
The laboratory is focusing on the transport and sensing of n-acetylglucosamine as well as the impact of n-acetylglucosamine generated during degradation of bacteria on the glycolytic metabolism of phagocytic cells.
Glycolysis is essential to the inflammatory responses of phagocytic cells like macrophages and dendritic cells. The first step in glycolysis is catalyzed by the enzyme, hexokinase. The laboratory is interested in understanding the importance of the multiple hexokinase enzymes expressed by phagocytic cells. We study cellular metabolism of phagocytic cells and the importance of altered glycolysis during bacterial infection and inflammatory diseases.