Research Goals Summary. Research in the Maser Laboratory revolves around the pathogenesis and treatment of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). In particular, the lab has focused on the structure-function relationships of polycystin-1 (PC-1), the protein product of the PKD1 gene, and the contribution of reduced antioxidant protection to the pathogenetic mechanism of PKD. These interests have resulted in the five main research projects described below:
the mechanism of membrane insertion of polycystin-1 and how this contributes to polycystin-1 cellular localization and signaling functions;
the mechanism of polycystin-1 mediated antioxidant response element (ARE) gene expression;
the regulation of ARE genes by fluid shear stress in renal epithelial cells;
the contribution of oxidant stress to the pathogenic mechanism of PKD;
the potential effect of antioxidant-based therapies for amelioration of PKD severity
Autosomal dominant (AD) PKD is the most common genetic cause of end-stage renal failure. ADPKD is primarily characterized by the development and enlargement of hundreds of fluid-filled cysts that arise from epithelia-lined tubules within both kidneys. Cystic epithelial cells exhibit abnormal phenotypes that include increased proliferation, transepithelial fluid secretion, extracellular matrix deposition, and apoptosis. ADPKD is a systemic disease associated with cysts in the liver, cerebral aneurysms, hypertension, cardiac valve abnormalites, left ventricle hypertrophy, and endothelial dysfunction. Read more on the background.
Maser Laboratory team members (left to right): Andreea Chiselita (Research Assistant), Donna Ziemer (Research Associate), and Dianne Vasser (Research Assistant)