Lori Wallrath, Ph.D.
Research in the Wallrath laboratory is focused the role of chromatin packaging, gene expression and nuclear organization, with respect to human disease. The three dimensional organization of the genome within the nucleus is important for proper gene regulation. Lamins are intermediate filament proteins that line the inner side of the nuclear envelope providing structural support for the nucleus and regulating gene expression through connections made with chromatin.
Mutations in the human LMNA gene encoding lamins cause a collection of diseases called laminopathies that includes muscular dystrophy, cardiomyopathy and early onset aging syndromes. It is unclear how mutant lamins cause disease. To address this issue, the laboratory has generated Drosophila (fruit fly) models of skeletal muscle and cardiac laminopathies that are based on patient mutations. Flies expressing mutant lamins exhibit muscle and cardiac problems that recapitulate many aspects of laminopathies. These models are currently being used to understand how mutant lamins misregulate genes and cause altered signaling in biological pathways as a means of developing therapies.
- Eukaryotic Gene Expression
- Molecular and Biochemical Genetics