Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Garcia, K. Christopher
Location Stanford University
Primary Field Immunology and Inflammation
Secondary Field Biophysics and Computational Biology
 Election Citation
Garcia has made seminal contributions to our understanding of immune recognition by antigen receptors in three cell lineages; including that co-evolved structural rules explain TCR bias for MHC. He also showed how shared cytokine receptors engage diverse families of immunoregulatory cytokines and assemble into structurally unique multimeric signaling complexes.
 Research Interests
The overarching theme of Garcia's laboratory is to understand the structural and functional aspects of cell surface receptor recognition and activation, primarily in the immune system, where cell-cell communication is key part of how immune responses are orchestrated. Other systems of study in the Garcia lab include, Wnt/Frizzled, Notch/Jagged, and chemokine GPCRs. In particular he seeks to understand how the structure of surface receptors influences intracellular signaling, and whether these structural principles can used to be engineer proteins that elicit new downstream signals and cellular functions. A particular focus here is on "shared" pleiotropic receptors in the immune system, such as alpha Beta TCRs, and cytokine receptors. In the case of the former, he and his colleagues determined the basic structural framework for how T cell receptors recognize peptide-MHCs, a phenomenon known as MHC restriction. The Garcia group has also gained molecular insight into how homeostasis of immune cells is controlled by immunoregulatory cytokines, such as Interleukins and Interferons, through activation of shared receptors including gp130 and common gamma chain. Collectively, Garcia has defined several structural mechanisms by which functional specificity can be elicited by different ligands that act through common receptors. Looking forward, Garcia's group is translating their wealth of structural and mechanistic information on immune receptor signaling into the development of protein-based therapeutics for a range of immunological diseases and therapies.

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