Welcome to the Ameen Lab
The central focus of our laboratory is aimed at understanding the mechanisms regulating traffic of ion transporters into and out of the intestinal brush border membrane and how dysregulation of traffic leads to intestinal diseases (either constipation or diarrhea). While our main focus is the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR), we investigate all ion transporters in the enterocyte plasma membrane. To this end, we were the first to demonstrate a physiologic role for regulated traffic of CFTR in the pathogenesis of infectious ( Cholera and E.Coli) secretory diarrhea, and extended those studies to other ion transporters. We identified a unique enterocyte (CFTR High Expresser cell, CHE) expressing unusually high levels of CFTR in the human and rodent intestine that possess a strong secretory phenotype on the absorptive villus epithelium of the proximal small intestine. CHE cells likely play an important role in diarrheal diseases and Cystic Fibrosis, but much more needs to be done to understand the role of these cells.
We were also the first to propose an apical trafficking defect in the inherited childhood diarrheal disease, Microvillus Inclusion Disease (MVID). Ongoing work in our lab seeks to understand the underlying pathogenesis of the diarrhea in MVID that leads to early death in newborns.
We work in collaboration with colleagues in medical centers in the Netherlands, Yale and other institutions, and partner with pharmaceutical companies to help elucidate mechanisms of action of drugs that signal CFTR. Our studies are supported by the NIH and Industry.