Dr Raj Thaker

School of Life Sciences
Dr Raj Thaker



Our research focuses on understanding mechanisms that regulate immune T cell function. Our research is particularly focused on the identification of novel biological processes in T cells that contribute to establishing immune homeostasis. Immune homeostasis is tightly controlled process where immune function maintain “healthy and stable” relationships with other cells and organs. A failure of to re-establish this stability, for example, after an acute infection or eradication of malignant cells from the body can lead to serious immune pathologies such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Our goal is to identify key switches that allow immune cells to mount an attack and then return to the “basal state” using a multitude of interdisciplinary approaches ranging from innovative immunological assays to protein biochemistry, molecular biology and animal models. Recently, this unique approach our group has indentified a new molecule in T cells known as Rasal1 (Nat. Commun. 2019). Rasal1 is a new type of negative T cell reguulator and we have now begun to understand its function in much depth including its roles in cancer and autoimmunity.

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Professional Skills for Ecological and Marine Scientists (BS257)

  • Transferable Skills in Life Sciences (BS143)

  • Enterprise and Employability for the Biosciences (BS211)

  • Immunity in Health and Disease (BS223)

  • Issues in Biomolecular Science (BS304)

  • Molecular and Developmental Immunology (BS326)

  • Molecular Basis of Cancer (BS349)

  • Research Project in Biomolecular Science (BS831)

  • Research Project in Ecological and Marine Sciences (BS832)

  • Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (BS938)


Journal articles (16)

Thaker, Y., Raab, M. and Rudd, CE., RAS protein activator like 1 (RASAL1) is a novel TCR associated mediator than negatively regulates T-cell proliferation and anti-tumor immunity. Nature Communications

Tan, CL., Kuchroo, J., Francisco, L., Buck, J., Thaker, Y., Zhang, Q., McArdel, S., Juneja, V., Sage, P., Lee, S., Lovitch, S., Lian, C., Murphy, G., Vignali, D., Freeman, G. and Sharpe, A., PD-1 limits regulatory T cell suppressive activity by modulating PI3K-AKT and downstream metabolic pathways. Journal of Experimental Medicine

Marshansky, V., Hosokawa, H., Merkulova, M., Bakulina, A., Dip, PV., Thaker, Y., Bjargava, A., Tonra, JR., . Ausiello, DA. and Grüber, G., (2019). Structural model of a2-subunit N-terminus and its binding interface for Arf-GEF CTH2: Implication for regulation of V-ATPase, CTH2 function and rational drug design. Current Topics in Membranes. 83, 77-106

Thaker, YR., Raab, M., Strebhardt, K. and Rudd, CE., (2019). GTPase-activating protein Rasal1 associates with ZAP-70 of the TCR and negatively regulates T-cell tumor immunity. Nature Communications. 10 (1), 4804-

Thaker, YR. and Bajaj, BK., (2019). Correction to: Antibiotic resistance and molecular characterization of poultry isolates of Salmonella by RAPD-PCR. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. 35 (10)

Thaker, YR., Recino, A., Raab, M., Jabeen, A., Wallberg, M., Fernandez, N. and Rudd, CE., (2017). Activated Cdc42-associated kinase 1 (ACK1) binds the sterile α motif (SAM) domain of the adaptor SLP-76 and phosphorylates proximal tyrosines. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 292 (15), 6281-6290

Thaker, YR., Schneider, H. and Rudd, CE., (2015). TCR and CD28 activate the transcription factor NF-κB in T-cells via distinct adaptor signaling complexes. Immunology Letters. 163 (1), 113-119

Wei, B., Han, L., Abbink, TEM., Groppelli, E., Lim, D., Thaker, Y., Gao, W., Zhai, R., Wang, J., Lever, A., Jolly, C., Wang, H. and Rudd, CE., (2013). Immune adaptor ADAP in T cells regulates HIV-1 transcription and cell-cell viral spread via different co-receptors. Retrovirology. 10 (1), 101-101

Liu, H., Thaker, YR., Stagg, L., Schneider, H., Ladbury, JE. and Rudd, CE., (2013). SLP-76 Sterile α Motif (SAM) and Individual H5 α Helix Mediate Oligomer Formation for Microclusters and T-cell Activation. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 288 (41), 29539-29549

Rishikesan, S., Thaker, YR. and Grüber, G., (2011). NMR solution structure of subunit E (fragment E1–69) of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae V1VO ATPase. Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes. 43 (2), 187-193

Basak, S., Gayen, S., Thaker, YR., Manimekalai, MSS., Roessle, M., Hunke, C. and Grüber, G., (2011). Solution structure of subunit F (Vma7p) of the eukaryotic V1VO ATPase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae derived from SAXS and NMR spectroscopy. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes. 1808 (1), 360-368

Merkulova, M., Bakulina, A., Thaker, YR., Grüber, G. and Marshansky, V., (2010). Specific motifs of the V-ATPase a2-subunit isoform interact with catalytic and regulatory domains of ARNO. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics. 1797 (8), 1398-1409

Thaker, YR., Hunke, C., Yau, YH., Shochat, SG., Li, Y. and Grüber, G., (2009). Association of the eukaryotic V1VOATPase subunitsawithdanddwith A. FEBS Letters. 583 (7), 1090-1095

Rishikesan, S., Gayen, S., Thaker, YR., Vivekanandan, S., Manimekalai, MSS., Yau, YH., Shochat, SG. and Grüber, G., (2009). Assembly of subunit d (Vma6p) and G (Vma10p) and the NMR solution structure of subunit G (G1–59) of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae V1VO ATPase. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics. 1787 (4), 242-251

Rishikesan, S., Thaker, YR., Priya, R., Gayen, S., Manimekalai, MSS., Hunke, C. and Grüber, G., (2008). Spectroscopical identification of residues of subunit G of the yeast V-ATPase in its connection with subunit E. Molecular Membrane Biology. 25 (5), 400-410

Thaker, YR., Roessle, M. and Grüber, G., (2007). The boxing glove shape of subunit d of the yeast V-ATPase in solution and the importance of disulfide formation for folding of this protein. Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes. 39 (4), 275-289

Conferences (4)

Thaker, Y. and rudd, CE., Importance of growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb-2) binding to CD28 in mediating NF-kB activation in T cells

Thaker, Y., (2018). Treg-specific LAG3 deletion reveals a key role for LAG3 in regulatory T cells to inhibit CNS autoimmunity

Merkulova, M., Hosokawa, H., Bakulina, A., Dip, PV., Thaker, YR., Khatri, A., Ausiello, DA., Grueber, G. and Marshansky, V., (2013). Structural model of a2-subunit N-terminus and its binding interface for cytohesin-2: Implication for regulation of V-ATPase function

Thaker, YR., Rishikesan, S. and Grüber, G., (2008). S1.36 Solution structure of subunit d, E and G of the eukaryotic V-ATPase



3SW.4.36, Colchester Campus