Department of Infectious Diseases, School of Immunology and Microbial Sciences, King’s College London, London, UK.
Endosomes, receptors, and viruses – Mechanisms of infection are deciphered at the host-pathogen interface
Eukaryotic cells are compartmentalized into a dynamic series of membranes that provide spatiotemporal control over how proteins are processed, activated, and degraded. In particular, the endosomal network maintains a delicate balance between protein recycling and turnover, an essential process which is exploited by invading intracellular pathogens. I utilized proteomics to profile transmembrane protein sorting through the endosomal network and highlight its protective role in cellular homeostasis. I identified Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) as a key receptor that is directly recognized and recycled from endosomes to the trans-Golgi network. Following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, our collaborative team demonstrated that NRP1 directly binds the Spike protein of the causative virus, SARS-CoV-2, to enhance infection. This research opens avenues for exploring the role of neuropilins in viral infections.
James grew up in London, United Kingdom, and during his education he became interested in the fundamental mechanisms that govern how our cells, and life as we know it, work. This led him to pursue a biochemistry undergraduate degree, followed by a Wellcome Trust-funded PhD in Dynamic Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom.
During his PhD, he investigated the role of crucial components of eukaryotic cells, called, endosomes, in regulating protein sorting and turnover. This research led him to work on a receptor called Neuropilin-1 which unexpectedly became the focus of subsequent research during the COVID-19 pandemic, where they demonstrated a role of this protein in the infection process.
Dr. Daly is am now a Wellcome Early Career Award research associate, continuing to explore the role of Neuropilins in viral infections at King’s College London.