F A C U L T Y   P R O F I L E 

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Assistant Professor of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics

Modeling Mitochondrial Stress Signaling Networks in Drosophila.


Overview of Research Interests

Disruption of mitochondrial function results in the activation of signaling cascades that reflect attempts by the cell to compensate for the effect of perturbed mitochondria – a phenomenon referred to as mitochondrial stress signaling. Our lab is interested in elucidating the signaling mechanisms that regulate adaptive compensatory responses to mitochondrial distress; and how interfering with these responses impact muscle and neuronal function. We envisage that forced expression of such adaptive response factors should prevent or at least retard the progression of diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and ultimately aging. In most of our projects, we use genetic, cell biological and biochemical approaches in the model organism Drosophila to uncover some of these factors, with the ultimate goal of further characterizing these factors in mammalian systems.

Another concept in mitochondrial stress signaling is that mitochondrial disruption in one tissue can trigger systemic (i.e. non-autonomous) effects in a distal tissue. This phenomenon is exemplified by work in mice, where muscle mitochondrial injury results in the secretion of FGF21, which mobilizes lipids from adipose tissue to alter whole-organism physiology. In an alternate project, we are interested in deciphering some of the secretory factors that propagate mitochondrial stress responses between tissues.

Selected Publications

Owusu-Ansah E, and Perrimon N. Modeling nutrient-sensing and metabolic homeostasis in Drosophila: Implications for aging and metabolic diseases. Dis Model Mech. 2014 Mar;7(3):343-50.

Owusu-Ansah E, Song W, Perrimon N. Muscle mitohormesis promotes longevity via systemic repression of insulin signaling. Cell. 2013 Oct 24; 155(3):699-712.

Owusu-Ansah E and Banerjee U. Reactive Oxygen Species prime Drosophila Haematopoietic progenitors for differentiation. Nature. 2009 Sep24; 461 (7263): 537-41.

Owusu-Ansah E, Yavari A, Mandal S, Banerjee U. Distinct mitochondrial retrograde signals control the G1-S cell cycle checkpoint. Nat. Genet.2008 Mar;40(3):356-61.

Liao TSV, Call G, Guptan P, Cespedes A, Marshall J, Owusu-Ansah E, Mandal S, Fang QA, Yackle K, Goodstein GL and Banerjee U. An efficient genetic screen in Drosophila to identify nuclear – encoded genes with mitochondrial function. Genetics 2006 Sep;174(1):525-33.

Mandal S, Guptan P, Owusu-Ansah E, Banerjee U. Mitochondrial regulation of cell cycle progression during development as revealed by the tenured mutation in Drosophila. Dev Cell. 2005 Dec;9(6):843-54.