Project Title: Functional characterisation of asthma associated gene, PLAUR
The Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Receptor (PLAUR;uPAR) is the receptor for Urokinase, regulating Plasminogen/Plasmin pathway activation. This receptor has been associated with a number of diseases, such as prostate and breast cancer, HIV, kidney disease, diabetes, asthma and COPD, with elevated levels associated with poor prognosis and survivability.
A role for uPAR in the modulation of kidney disease has also been recently defined. Based on this, my PhD aims to further understanding of the regulation at the gene level for the receptor, to identify a role for different forms of the receptor at the cellular level (Bronchial Epithelial cells), to identify a role for the freely circulating form of the receptor in obstructive lung disease and to identify novel and disease specific variation in the gene and surrounding areas. This work commenced in September 2009 and was funded by a STEPS (Malta) scholarship which is part-financed by the European Union -European Social Fund (ESF) under Operational Programme II -Cohesion Policy 2007-2013, "Empowering People for More Jobs and a Better Quality of Life".