Areas of Research
- DNA Repair Research
- Epigenetics Research
The McBride Lab focuses on the enzyme activation induced deaminase (AID). Normally, DNA damage is considered detrimental to genomic stability. However, AID is a DNA cytidine deaminase mutator enzyme that induces hypermutation and DNA double stranded breaks (DSBs) in a beneficial manner. Without AID induced DNA lesions, B cells cannot generate mature, high affinity or isotype switched antibodies resulting in compromised immunity.
DNA damage and mutation of the human genome are the basis of carcinogenesis and often thought to be avoided at all cost. However, there are instances where DNA damage has beneficial effects. Mammals have evolved programmed DNA damage as a means to diversify the immune repertoire, protect against viral infection and instigate epigenetic reprogramming.
The McBride laboratory, located near Austin at Science Park, is interested in the enzyme activation induced deaminase (AID), which causes programmed DNA damage essential to these beneficial processes. They are seeking to understand the mechanisms that control AID activity and contribute to its proper function in immunity and epigenetic reprogramming or collateral damage in carcinogenesis.
Somatic mutation has long been a difficult process to study, hampered by the heterogeneity of mutation, rarity of events and difficulty in measuring rates and target genes. However, the McBride lab has overcome these difficulties by using a novel cutting-edge technique that allows single-cell mutation analysis to investigate the genetic, environmental and cell signaling pathways that underlie nucleic acid mutation using previously unavailable approaches.
The McBride Lab is part of the Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis located at The Virginia Harris Cockrell Cancer Research Center at Science Park. Situated in Buescher State Park, Science Park is just minutes outside of Austin, Texas.