The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


Research Projects

Project: Dissecting new functions of post-translational modifications in B lymphocytes

Mackay, Fabienne Group

B lymphocytes are immune cells essential for the life of mammals, producing protective antibodies, designed to recognise and neutralise pathogens. Signalling via the B cell receptor (BCR) leads to protein methylation. In support of a fundamental role for protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1) in B cells, our work has demonstrated that many aspects of B cell biology are defective in PRMT1-deficient mice. This project aims to dissect the role of PRMT1 in B cell activation with the hypothesis that PRMT1 is a central arginine methyltransferase required for modifying key proteins of unappreciated functional importance in B cells, as part of an additional dimension of B cell regulation. 

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Project Supervisor

Professor Fabienne Mackay

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Simona Infantino

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Mackay, Fabienne Group

[email protected]

3 vacancies

Cross Cutting Disciplines
Translational and Clinical Research
Public Health

Professor Mackay’s group has an interest in autoimmune diseases and mechanisms leading to loss of immune tolerance, in particular that of B-lymphocytes. Professor Mackay has spent years studying a cytokine from the tumour necrosis factor superfamily named BAFF/ BLyS and demonstrated the role of this factor in B cell survival. Excess B cell activating factor (BAFF) leads to autoimmunity in mice and is associated with human autoimmunity, in particular Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Sjögren’s syndrome. Belimumab, a therapeutic BAFF-blocking antibody has been approved for use in SLE in the clinic in March 2011. This clinical outcome validates over ten years of Professor Mackay’s work on BAFF. 

Mackay, Fabienne Group Current Projects