• Title Professor of Biology; Director, Program in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry
  • Education PhD, University of California, Berkeley
  • Web Address http://www.bu.edu/nf-kb/the-gilmore-lab/
  • Phone 617-353-5444
  • Area of Interest molecular biology, cell biology, signal transduction, cancer, molecular ecology
  • CV

Current Research

The research in our lab is carried out by a team of graduate and undergraduate researchers. The research primarily focuses on the role of signal transduction pathways in normal and disease physiology. Much of our research involved projects centered on transcription factor NF-κB. In one project, we seek to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which altered NF-κB activity contributes to a variety of human diseases, especially lymphoid cell cancers and immunodeficiencies. For example, we have found that many human B-cell lymphomas have chronically high levels of nuclear NF-κB activity that is required for their growth and survival. Conversely, some human immunodeficiency diseases are due to mutations that reduced NF-κB signaling in response to cytokines or pathogens.
In current collaborative studies with Drs. Adrian Whitty and Karen Allen in the Chemistry Department at BU, we are characterizing the structure and function of the protein NEMO, which is an upstream scaffold protein in the NF-κB pathway and is mutated in certain human immunodeficiencies. We have recently found that NEMO normally undergoes a conformational change that is required for its signaling activity and that some human disease mutations affect the ability of NEMO to undergo this conformational change. For some of these studies, we are using cell lines with novel CRISPR-based genome editing of the NEMO gene.
We are also studying the evolutionary origins of the NF-κB pathway by characterizing NF-κB genes and proteins in simple marine organisms, such as the sea anemones, corals, and sponges. This research has relevance to the mechanisms by which simple marine organisms maintain symbiotic relationships with required algae and how they deal with the environmental stress that is currently impacting sensitive marine ecosystems. These studies are being carried out in collaboration with Drs. Sarah Davies, John Finnerty, and Trevor Siggers (Biology Department, Boston University).

Selected Publications

  • Williams LM, Gilmore TD (2020) Looking down on NF-kB. Molecular and Cellular Biology 40 (15): e00104-20.
  • Williams LM, Inge MM, Mansfield KM, Rasmussen A, Afghani, Agrba M, Albert C, Andersson N, Babaei M, Babaei M, Bagdasaryants A, Bonilla A, Browne A, Carpenter S, Chen T, Christie B, Cyr A, Dam K, Dulock N, Erdene G, Esau L, Esonwune S, Hanchate A, Huang X, Jennings T, Kasabwala A, Kehoe L, Kobayashi R, Lee M, LeVan A, Liu Y, Murphy E, Nambiar A, Olive M, Patel D, Pavesi F, Petty CA, Samofalova Y, Sanchez S, Stejskal C, Tang Y, Yapo A, Cleary JP, Yunes SA, Siggers T, Gilmore TD (2020) Transcription factor NF-κB in a basal metazoan, the sponge, has conserved and unique sequences, activities, and regulation. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 104, 103599.
  • Babaei M, Liu YK, Wuerzberger-Davis SM, McCaslin EZ, DiRusso CP, Yeo A, Kagermazova L, Miyamoto S, Gilmore TD (2019) CRISPR/Cas9-based editing of a sensitive transcriptional regulatory element to achieve cell type-specific knockdown of the NEMO scaffold protein. PLoS ONE 14: e0222588.
  • Shaffer R, DeMaria AM, Kagermazova L, Liu Y, Babaei M, Caban-Penix S, Cervantes A, Jehle S, Makowski L, Gilmore TD, Whitty A, Allen KN (2019) A central conserved region of NEMO is required for IKKβ-induced conformational change and signal propagation. Biochemistry 58: 2906-2920.
  • Brennan JJ, Gilmore TD (2018) Evolutionary origins of Toll-like receptor signaling. Molecular Biology and Evolution 35: 1576-1587.
  • Williams LM, Fuess LE, Brennan JJ, Mansfield KM, Salas-Rodriguez E, Welsh J, Awtry J, Banic S, Chacko C, Chezian A, Dowers D, Estrada F, Hsieh Y-H, Kang J, Li W, Malchiodi Z, Malinowski J, Matuszak S, McTigue IV T, Mueller D, Nguyen B, Nguyen M, Nguyen P, Nguyen S, Njoku N, Patel K, Pellegrini W, Pliakas T, Qadir D, Ryan E, Schiffer A, Thiel A, Yunes SA, Spilios KE, Pinzón C JH, Mydlarz LD, Gilmore TD (2018) A conserved Toll-like receptor-to-NF-kB signaling pathway in the endangered coral Orbicella faveolata. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 79: 128-136.
  • Mansfield KM, Carter NM, Nguyen L, Cleves PA, Alshanbayeva A, Williams LM, Penvose A, Finnerty JR, Weis VM, Siggers T, Gilmore TD (2017) Transcription factor NF-kB is modulated by symbiotic status in a sea anemone model of cnidarian bleaching. Scientific Reports 7: 16025.
  • Brennan JJ, Messerschmidt JL, Williams LM, Matthews BJ, Reynoso M, Gilmore TD (2017) Sea anemone model has a single Toll-like receptor that can function in pathogen detection, NF-kB signal transduction, and development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 114: E10122-E10131.

Courses Taught:

  • BB522 Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • BI576 Carcinogenesis

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