The Wu laboratory of structural and mechanistic immunology focuses on elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern the assembly, regulation and therapeutic intervention of supramolecular complexes in innate immunity. Our current research focuses on inflammasomes, which are cellular machineries for activating inflammatory caspases. Activated caspases process the IL-1 family cytokines and the pore forming protein gasdermin D (GSDMD), and GSDMD pores release the mature cytokines and cause pyroptotic cell death. We also have ongoing projects on mechanism and therapeutic intervention in tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathways.
There are three pillars for the research in the lab, 1) cryo-EM and other biophysical methods for detailed understanding of molecular complexes, including a large number of membrane proteins, 2) drug screening and validation for potential therapeutics in immune diseases and cancer, and 3) cellular imaging and other tools for the assembly of supramolecular complexes in cells.