Research Projects

RGM/DRAGON family of BMP co-receptors

The three members of this family include RGMa, RGMb/DRAGON, and RGMc/Hemojuvelin. We are using biochemical, cell biological and in vivo knock-out techniques to study the mechanism of action of the RGM/Dragon family of GPI-linked BMP co-receptors in the regulation of BMP signaling. We have discovered that these co-receptors appear to act by altering the ability of BMP ligands to utilize different BMP type II receptors, enhancing overall BMP signaling.

Hemojuvelin (HJV) in the regulation of hepcidin expression and iron metabolism

Hemojuvelin allows the low endogenous amounts of BMP found in the liver to generate sufficient BMP signals that lead to increased hepatic hepcidin expression, and humans with mutations in hemojuvelin develop Juvenile Hemochromatosis. Since hepcidin is the key iron regulatory protein, BMP signaling by hemojuvelin is the key regulatory signaling pathway in iron metabolism. We are focused on understanding the detailed mechanism of action of hemojuvelin in this process. We use biochemical, cell biological and animal models to study this imporant regulatory protein.

TGF-β/BMP ligands interaction with receptor

We utilize soluble receptor-Fc fusion proteins to study the interactions of TGF-β/BMP ligands with their receptors using radiolabeled binding assays, biochemical pull-down experiments, and bioinhibition assays. We also use these soluble receptors-Fc fusion proteins as therapeutic tools for treating animal models of chronic kidney diease and anemia of chronic disease.