Abu-Amer Lab

Yousef Abu-Amer, Ph.D

Professor

Department of Orthopaedics Washington University

abuamery@wustl.edu
BJC - Institute of Health 
11th floor - RM 11614          
Phone: (314) 362-8597 

Projects

Abu-Amer laboratory projects and interests - 2013.

Our research interests are centered on investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying inflammatory arthritis and osteolysis. Our laboratory has made significant contributions for understanding the role of the transcription factor NF-kB in inflammatory bone erosion associated with rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory osteolysis. Using tissue-specific deletions, we have delineated the role of IKKb and NEMO/IKKg in skeletal development and bone pathologies. We have also discovered that knock-in of constitutively active IKKb in mice causes osteolysis independent of RANK/RANKL upstream signaling. Recently, we have shown that constitutively active IKKb causes inflammatory osteolysis and osteopenia associated with intestinal colitis and inhibits bone formation.

We are currently focused on investigating the role of NF-kB as a link between intestinal inflammation and skeletal wasting as well as between synovial inflammation and joint destruction. Other aspects of ongoing research are focused on the role of NF-kB as central mediator of osteoimmunology (cross talk between the immune system and the skeleton).

The following projects are currently ongoing:

1. Title: Molecular mechanisms underlying IKK complex in osteolysis and bone metabolism. This project utilizes gene knock out and knock-in approaches to investigate the role of IKKb in bone under normal and pathologic conditions.

2. Title: The role of TAK1 (activator of the IKK complex and MAP kinases) in skeletal development and pathologies. We are using tissue-specific deletion of TAK1 at various stages of myeloid lineage development and its impact on skeletal development

3. Title: Molecular mechanisms of NEMO/IKKg underlying bone health and disease. A NEMO-floxed mouse model is being used to delineate the role of this gene in bone tissue and examine its molecular contribution to bone pathologies with emphasis on particular domains essential for poly-ubiquitinations.

4. Title: Systemic NF-kB dysregulation and its effect on skeletal development; a disease model. This project is aimed at studying the poorly defined impact of low grade systemic/chronic inflammation on bone health. Two models in which intestinal inflammation is established through intestine-specific expression of constitutively active IKKb or deletion of NEMO are being utilized.

5. Title: Mutual regulation of NF-kB and FoxP3; osteoimmune mechanisms. This project utilizes appropriate gene knockout mice to investigate novel aspects of NF-kB contribution to the mechanism by which the forkhead transcription factor, FoxP3 (which is expressed by immune T reg cells), regulates bone homeostasis.

6. Title: Molecular mechanisms underlying orthopedic particle-induced osteolysis. We have discovered recently that orthopedic particles released from implants induce osteolysis through mechanisms involving poly-ubiquitination events. Our current research in this area utilizes relevant transgenic mice to elucidate these mechanisms.

Contact: Dr. Abu-Amer @ 362-0335; email: abuamery@wustl.edu