Welcome to the King Lab website. We are based in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Sheffield, UK, where we interested in the cell biology of professional phagocytes. The main focus of the laboratory is to understand how cells perform macropinocytosis – the bulk capture of extracellular fluid. This plays important and distinct roles in diverse cell types such as macrophages, dendritic cells and neurons, by allowing cells to sample their environment and regulating membrane turnover. However macropinocytosis also allows cancer cells to scavenge the extracellular nutrients required to support their growth, and provides a route for pathogens and prions to enter host cells.
The diverse importance of macropinocytosis has only recently become clear, and both the formation and maturation of macropinosomes is poorly understood. My laboratory is thus trying to answer two fundamental questions:
1) How do cells generate the cup-shaped protrusions required to entrap extracellular fluid? 2) How are macropinosomes and phagosomes processed after internalisation?
Macropinocytic cup formation in Dictyostelium amoebae
We study the fundamental mechanisms underlying these processes, and also have interests in the related pathways of phagocytosis, host-pathogen interactions and autophagy. Our work is therefore relevant to a wide range of human diseases and conditions. Please see our research pages for more information.
At Sheffield, we are fortunate to be members of both the Centre for Membrane Interactions and Dynamics (CMIAD) as well as the Bateson Centre.