Dr Peter Monk BSc PhD

Reader in Immunology

Photo of Dr Pete MonkDepartment of Infection and Immunity
The University of Sheffield
Medical School
Beech Hill Road
Sheffield S10 2RX

Office: LU115
Tel: +44 (0114 226 1312
Fax: +44 (0)114 271 3892
Email: p.monk@sheffield.ac.uk
Secretary - Jean Lazenby
Room:  K129
Tel: +44 (0)114 271 2237
Email: j.lazenby@sheffield.ac.uk

Biography

I began my career in the Biochemistry Department in Sheffield in 1988 as a post-doctoral researcher, working for Professor Banks on chemoattractant signalling in monocytes, before working with Dr Birgit Helm on mast cell degranulation. In 1992, I became an independent researcher, funded by Arthritis Research UK to study the important pro-inflammatory mediator, complement fragment 5A (C5a).

In 1995, Arthritis Research UK awarded me a post-doctoral fellowship to establish my own laboratory, working on the interactions between C5a and its receptor. We were the first group to characterise the second C5a receptor, C5L2, now recognised to have important roles in inflammation and neurodegeneration. During this time, I also began work on the tetraspanin family of membrane proteins, identifying the hepatitis C virus E2 glycoprotein binding site on CD81.

I became a lecturer in the Department of Neurosciences in 2001 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2007, before moving to the Department of Infection and Immunity in 2009.  I became Reader in Immunology in 2013.

Research Interests:

NMR-C5a

Complement fragment receptors

The complement cascade is a series of blood proteins forming a part of the immune system that responds to infection. Complement protein fragments (C4a, C3a) produced by activation of the cascade actually cause inflammation which is normally a good thing but, when excessively produced, they exacerbate inflammatory diseases and there are no drugs currently available to prevent this. We are investigating the molecular interactions that underlie complement fragment receptor (C5aR, C3aR, C5L2) functions with the aim of developing new drugs for anti-inflammatory therapy.

NMR structure of C5a.
This receptor activation domain is the turn-helix at base of the molecule

CD81-EC2

Tetraspanins

Tetraspanins have been implicated in many of the fundamental processes involved in the development and functioning of multicellular organisms, from sponges to man. These include cell fustion, migration, secretion, adhesion and signalling. Recently, several tetraspanins have been shown to have roles in microbial infections, including hepatitis C, HIV-1 and Chlamydia. Cell ingress and egress mechanisms involving tetraspanins are exploited by these intracellular pathogens. These mechanisms can be blocked by tetraspanin-specific reagents, suggesting that tetraspnins may be valuable drug targets. However, the molecular details of tetraspanin functions have yet to be fully elucidated. We are using mammalian and zebrafish models to further our understanding of this fascinating protein family.

Dimer of CD81 EC2 domains. This domain contains the HCV binding site

Teaching Interests:

  • MSc Molecular Medicine MED6006 (Allergy and Imunotherapy)
  • Preclinical Medicine Laboratory-based SSC; student mentor
  • BMS309 Neurobiological Basis of Brain Disease (the neuroimmunology of disease)
  • MBB311 Molecular Immunology (innate immunity)
  • MBB360 Third Year Undergraduate projects
  • MBB460 Fourth Year Undergraduate Projects

Professional activities:

  • Member of British Society for Immunology; Biochemical Society, British Inflammation Research Association.
  • INSERM scientific evaluation Infection and Immunity panel member
  • Co-organiser for FASEB summer research conferences on tetraspanins
  • Associate editor for BMC Immunology, Frontiers of Immunology
  • Industry Consultancies

Current projects:

  • Analysis of the C5a receptor ligand binding site
  • Control of C5a function by the second C5a receptor, C5L2
  • Development of C3a receptor antagonists
  • The role of CD63 in secretory lysosomes
  • Tetraspanin function in monocyte giant cell formation
  • Tetraspanins and intracellular pathogens

Funding

  • AgeUK
  • BBSRC DTG
  • A*Star

Publications:

For key publications see below.  For a full list of publications click here.

Journal articles