Marie E Egan MD

Professor of Pediatrics (Respiratory) and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology; Director, Cystic Fibrosis Center

Research Interests

Cystic fibrosis clinical studies; Cystic fibrosis basic science research (ion transport, Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) function); Cystic fibrosis translational research studies (strategies to bypass the basic defect)

Research Summary

Dr. Egan’s primary research interest is to understand the regulation of ion transport across the airway epithelia in health and disease. Transepithelial ion transport is responsible for maintaining the airway surface fluid, i.e. the periciliary fluid layer, which controls mucociliary clearance. Abnormalities in the ion channels and regulators of these channels can alter mucociliary clearance, leading to retained secretions, mucus plugging, infection, and lung destruction, as seen in cystic fibrosis. In CF, it is the abnormal function of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), a multifunctional protein encoded by the gene that is affected in cystic fibrosis (CF) that underlies the abnormal ion transport in affected organs.

The Egan lab uses a variety of electrophysiologic techniques to examine how CFTR expression affects transepithelial ion transport in airway epithelial cells. They have shown that CFTR can modulate other ion channels and, as its name implies, act as a conductance regulator. In addition, they have been very interested in understanding and identifying the mechanism(s) that underlie these interactions; and the lab has been examining proteins related to CFTR with the hopes of identify regions/domains that are common to these proteins and are necessary for these interactions. Lastly, the laboratory is interested in examining how mutations in CFTR affect its ability to function.

Selected Publications

  • Bruscia E., PX. Zhang, A. Satoh, C. Caputo, R. Medzhitov, A. Shenoy, M.E. Egan D.S. Krause. Abnormal trafficking and degradation of TLR4 underlie the elevated inflammatory response in cystic fibrosis, Journal of Immunology. 186: 6990-6998, 2011. (D.S.K. and M.E.E. contributed equally to this project and each should be considered as senior author.)
  • Bruscia E, Zhang P-X, Ferreira E, Caputo C, Emerson J, Krause D, Egan ME. Macrophages directly contribute to the hyper pro-inflammatory response in Cftr -/- mice. Am J Resp Cell & Mol Biol, 40:295-304, 2009.
  • Egan ME, Pearson M, Weiner S, Rubin D, Lukcas G, Du K, Rajendran V, Glockner-Pagel J, Canny S, Caplan MC. Curcumin, a major constituent of the spice tumeric, corrects cystic fibrosis defects. Science, 304:600-2, 2004.
  • Bruscia EM, Grove JE, Chang EC, Weiner S, Caputo C, Ferreira EC, Egan ME, Krause DS. Assessment of CFTR activity in CFTR-null mice after bone marrow transplantation, Proc Natl Acad Sci, 103:2965-70, 2006.
  • Egan ME, Ambrose CA, Cahill PA, Glockner-Pagel J, Balamuth N, Pappoe L, Cho T, Wagner CA, Geibel J, Caplan MC. Calcium pump inhibitors induce functional expression of DF508-CFTR in cystic fibrosis epithelial cells. Nature Med, 8:485-92, 2002.
  • Weiner SA, Caputo C, Bruscia E, Ferreira E, Price JE, Krause DS, Egan ME. Rectal potential difference measurements and the functional expression of CFTR in the gastrointestinal epithelia of cystic fibrosis models, Ped Res, 63(1):73-8, 2008.

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