Role of ARHGEF2 in brain development/Innate immune defense mechanisms in the intestine

Dr. Reinecker’s work seeks to define how viral recognition shapes mucosal immune responses and to develop a detailed understanding of the signaling intermediates that confer the sensing of viruses for induction of type I interferons critical for strategies to curtail viral mechanisms that impede innate immune defenses. His work has identified the guanine nucleotide exchange factor H1 (GEF-H1), encoded by the Arhgef2 gene, as a central component of host defense activation during viral infections. He has hypothesized that GEF-H1 serves as a gatekeeper for innate host defenses by controlling interferon response factor activation, which is part of signaling pathways induced by recognition of bacteria and viruses. Defining the functional role of this newly discovered central component of microbial pattern recognition should provide pivotal insights into the integration of antiviral host defenses into immune activation pathways that control the microbiota in the intestine. His work has also resulted in a surprising finding which he intends to investigate with the help of several IDDRC Cores as this is a new field of investigation for the Reinecker laboratory.