Assistant Professor

Expertise: Regulation of iron metabolism and infectious disease

My research aims to elucidate the interaction between host reticuloendothelial iron status and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) infection. M.tb is a widespread human pathogen that infects over 8 million people worldwide and accounts for approximately 2 million deaths annually. It is known that access to host iron is essential for M.tb growth within host macrophages.  However, iron is also required for macrophage-mediated immune function.  Therefore, there is a constant struggle between the host and pathogen for this essential nutrient. My recent work suggests that the protein ferroportin (FPN), which serves to export iron from macrophages, plays an important role in this battle for iron. The reduction of intracellular iron through FPN limits the ability of macrophages to kill intracellular M.tb through the iNOS pathway.  Additionally, there are at least 30 known FPN mutations that result in human diseases of iron metabolism. My future research goals include using macrophages expressing FPN variants as infection models to gain a better understanding of how iron-related diseases impact bacterial infection.

 

Recent Courses

BL 155 – Principles of Biology I lecture
BL 215/215L – Introduction to Biotechnology
BL 240 – Epidemiology
BL 310/310L – Microbiology lecture and laboratory
BL 410 – Medical Microbiology

Selected Publications

Deb, S., Johnson, E.E., Robalinho-Teixeira, R.L., and Wessling-Resnick, M. (2009) Modulation of Intracellular Iron Levels by Oxidative Stress Implicates a Novel Role for Iron in Signal Transduction. Biometals (Epub): DOI 10.1007/s10534-009-9214-7.

Wang, L., Johnson, E.E., Shi, H.N., Walker, W.A., Wessling-Resnick, M. and Cherayil, B.J. (2008) Attenuated Inflammatory Responses in Hemochromatosis Reveal a Role for Iron in the Regulation of Macrophage Cytokine Translation. The Journal of Immunology 181(4): 2723-31.

Overmeyer, J.H.*, Kaul, A.*, Johnson, E.E., Maltese, W.A. (2008) Active Ras Triggers Death in Glioblastoma Cells Through Hyperstimulation of MacropinocytosisMolecular Cancer Research 6 (6): 965- 977. *These authors contributed equally to the work.

Johnson, E.E. and Wessling-Resnick, M. (2007) Flatiron Mice and Ferroportin Disease. Nutrition Reviews 65 (7): 341-345.

Chlosta, S., Fishman, D.S., Harrington, L., Johnson, E.E., Knutson, M.D., Wessling-Resnick, M., and Cherayil, B.J. (2006) The Iron Efflux Protein Ferroportin Regulates the Intracellular Growth of Salmonella enterica. Infection and Immunity 74 (5): 3065-3067.

Johnson, E.E., Overmeyer J.H., Gunning, W.T., and Maltese, W.A. (2006) siRNA-Mediated Gene Silencing Reveals a Specific Function of Mammalian Vps34 Phophatidylinositol 3-Kinase in Late Versus Early Endosomes. Journal of Cell Science 119 (7): 1219-1232.