Roger L Miesfeld
Distinguished Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Professor, Entomology / Insect Science - GIDP
Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Primary Department
(520) 626-2343
Research Interest
Roger L. Miesfeld, Ph.D., Professor and Co-Chair, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry, College of Science, University of Arizona. Mosquitoes are human disease vectors that transmit pathogens through blood feeding. One of these disease vectors is the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which have rapidly expanded their habitat and are contributing annually to 500,000 cases of Dengue hemorrhagic fever. On an even greater scale, Anopheline mosquitoes account for 250 million cases of malaria/yr, with up to 1 million deaths annually. The most common adult insecticides used for mosquito control are pyrethroids, which inhibit evolutionarily conserved sodium channels in the mosquito nervous system. Although these compounds have proven to be effective, mosquito resistance is an increasing problem and there is a pressing need to develop the next generation of safe and effective agents. Since blood meal feeding creates a unique metabolic challenge as a result of the extremely high protein and iron content of blood, it is possible that interfering with blood meal metabolism could provide a novel control strategy for mosquito born diseases. Our long term goal is to identify small molecule inhibitors that block blood meal metabolism in vector mosquitoes, resulting in feeding-induced death of the adult female, or a significant reduction in egg viability, as a strategy to control vector mosquito populations in areas of high disease transmission.


Zhou, G., Isoe, J., Day, W. A., & Miesfeld, R. L. (2011). Alpha-copi coatomer protein is required for rough endoplasmic reticulum Whorl formation in mosquito midgut epithelial cells. PLoS ONE, 6(3).

PMID: 21483820;PMCID: PMC3069061;Abstract:

Background: One of the early events in midgut epithelial cells of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes is the dynamic reorganization of rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) whorl structures coincident with the onset of blood meal digestion. Based on our previous studies showing that feeding on an amino acid meal induces TOR signaling in Ae. aegypti, we used proteomics and RNAi to functionally identify midgut epithelial cell proteins that contribute to RER whorl formation. Methodology/Principal Findings: Adult female Ae. aegypti mosquitoes were maintained on sugar alone (unfed), or fed an amino acid meal, and then midgut epithelial cells were analyzed by electron microscopy and protein biochemistry. The size and number of RER whorls in midgut epithelial cells were found to decrease significantly after feeding, and several KDEL-containing proteins were shown to have altered expression levels. LC-MS/MS mass spectrometry was used to analyze midgut microsomal proteins isolated from unfed and amino acid fed mosquitoes, and of the 127 proteins identified, 8 were chosen as candidate whorl forming proteins. Three candidate proteins were COPI coatomer subunits (alpha, beta, beta'), all of which appeared to be present at higher levels in microsomal fractions from unfed mosquitoes. Using RNAi to knockdown alpha-COPI expression, electron microscopy revealed that both the size and number of RER whorls were dramatically reduced in unfed mosquitoes, and moreover, that extended regions of swollen RER were prevalent in fed mosquitoes. Lastly, while a deficiency in alpha-COPI had no effect on early trypsin protein synthesis or secretion 3 hr post blood meal (PBM), expression of late phase proteases at 24 hr PBM was completely blocked. Conclusions: alpha-COPI was found to be required for the formation of RER whorls in midgut epithelial cells of unfed Aa. aegypti mosquitoes, as well as for the expression of late phase midgut proteases. © 2011 Zhou et al.

Dowd, D. R., Ryerse, J. S., MacDonald, P. N., Miesfeld, R. L., & Kamradt, M. C. (1997). Crosstalk during Ca2+-, cAMP-, and glucocorticoid-induced gene expression in lymphocytes. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 128(1-2), 29-37.

PMID: 9140073;Abstract:

In the WEHI7.2 thymoma cell line, cAMP, glucocorticoids, or increases in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration lead to cell death by apoptosis. In the present study, we examined the effects of these compounds on cAMP response element (CRE)-mediated gene expression. Thapsigargin and A23187 were employed to increase cytosolic Ca2+ levels and induce apoptosis. Both compounds enhanced transcription from a CRE preceding apoptotic death. Moreover, the transcriptional response to the combination of forskolin and either thapsigargin or A23187 was synergistic mirroring the effect on cell death. Importantly, dexamethasone treatment, which causes an efflux of Ca2+ from the ER, induced transcription from a CRE alone or in synergy with forskolin. The increase in CRE-controlled gene expression correlated with a decrease in cell viability. Following treatment with forskolin, thapsigargin, or dexamethasone, the CRE binding protein (CREB) was phosphorylated at levels correlating with the level of induced gene expression. These data suggest that transcriptional crosstalk between independent signaling pathways occurs in lymphocytes, and CREB may play a central role in the mediation of CRE-dependent transcription by these diverse set of apoptotic agents.

Miesfeld, R., Dieken, E. S., Meese, E. U., & Miesfeld, R. L. (1990). nti glucocorticoid receptor transcripts lack sequences encoding the amino-terminal transcriptional modulatory domain. Molecular and cellular biology, 10(9).

Glucocorticoid induction of cell death (apoptosis) in mouse lymphoma S49 cells has long been studied as a molecular genetic model of steroid hormone action. To better understand the transcriptional control of glucocorticoid-induced S49 cell death, we isolated and characterized glucocorticoid receptor (GR) cDNA from two steroid-resistant nti S49 mutant cell lines (S49.55R and S49.143R) and the wild-type parental line (S49.A2). Our data reveal that nti GR transcripts encode intact steroid- and DNA-binding domains but lack 404 amino-terminal residues as a result of aberrant RNA splicing between exons 1 and 3. Results from transient cotransfection experiments into CV1 cells using nti receptor expression plasmids and a glucocorticoid-responsive reporter gene demonstrated that the truncated nti receptor exhibits a reduced transcriptional regulatory activity. Gene fusions containing portions of both the wild-type and the nti GR-coding sequences were constructed and used to functionally map the nti receptor mutation. We found that the loss of the modulatory domain alone is sufficient to cause the observed defect in nti transcriptional transactivation. These results support the proposal that glucocorticoid-induced S49 cell death requires GR sequences which have previously been shown to be required for transcriptional regulation, suggesting that steroid-regulated apoptosis is controlled at the level of gene expression.

LeVan, T. D., Behr, F. D., Adkins, K. K., Miesfeld, R. L., & Bloom, J. W. (1997). Glucocorticoid receptor signaling in a bronchial epithelial cell line. American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, 272(5 16-5), L838-L843.

PMID: 9176246;Abstract:

Glucocorticoids are an effective anti-inflammatory therapy for the treatment of asthma. The anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids may be due to the inhibition of transcription factors that regulate cytokine synthesis. Because of the potential role of the bronchial epithelium in asthmatic inflammation and the possibility that this cell may be the main target of inhaled glucocorticoids, we have characterized glucocorticoid receptors (GR) and GR signaling in the human bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS-2B. Western blot analysis and radioligand binding studies demonstrated that BEAS-2B cells have functional GR that bind to dexamethasone (Dex) (dissociation constant = 5.6 nM and maximal density of binding sites = 228 ± 3.3 fmol/mg protein). GR were activated by Dex as assessed using a glucocorticoid-responsive reporter plasmid. Transfection of BEAS-2B cells with an activator protein-1 (AP-1) reporter construct followed by 12-O- tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) treatment resulted in a fivefold induction of reporter gene activity. Transfection with a nuclear factor (NF)- κB reporter construct followed by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) treatment resulted in a 10-fold induction of reporter gene activity. Dex (10-7 M) markedly repressed both the induced AP-1 and NF-κB activity. The GR antagonist RU-486 inhibited the repressive effect of Dex on TNF-α- induced NF-κB activity by 81% but only counteracted the repressive effect of Dex on TPA-induced AP-1 activity by 43%. These studies demonstrate that cross-signaling between AP-1 and NF-κB with GR may explain the anti- inflammatory properties of glucocorticoids in airway epithelial cells.

Yamamoto, M., Watt, C. D., Schmidt, R. J., Kuscuoglu, U., Miesfeld, R. L., & Goldhamer, D. J. (2007). Cloning and characterization of a novel MyoD enhancer-binding factor. Mechanisms of Development, 124(9-10), 715-728.

PMID: 17693064;PMCID: PMC2683348;Abstract:

Glucocorticoid-induced gene-1 (Gig1) was identified in a yeast one-hybrid screen for factors that interact with the MyoD core enhancer. The Gig1 gene encodes a novel C2H2 zinc finger protein that shares a high degree of sequence similarity with two known DNA binding proteins in humans, Glut4 enhancer factor and papillomavirus binding factor (PBF). The mouse ortholog of PBF was also isolated in the screen. The DNA binding domain of Gig1, which contains TCF-E-tail CR1 and CR2 motifs shown to mediate promoter specificity of TCF-E-tail isoforms, was mapped to a C-terminal domain that is highly conserved in Glut4 enhancer factor and PBF. In mouse embryos, in situ hybridization revealed a restricted pattern of expression of Gig1 that overlaps with MyoD expression. A nuclear-localized lacZ knockin null allele of Gig1 was produced to study Gig1 expression with greater resolution and to assess Gig1 functions. X-gal staining of Gig1nlacZ heterozygous embryos revealed Gig1 expression in myotomal myocytes, skeletal muscle precursors in the limb, and in nascent muscle fibers of the body wall, head and neck, and limbs through E14.5 (latest stage examined). Gig1 was also expressed in a subset of Scleraxis-positive tendon precursors/rudiments of the limbs, but not in the earliest tendon precursors of the somite (syndetome) defined by Scleraxis expression. Additional regions of Gig1 expression included the apical ectodermal ridge, neural tube roof plate and floor plate, apparent motor neurons in the ventral neural tube, otic vesicles, notochord, and several other tissues representing all three germ layers. Gig1 expression was particularly well represented in epithelial tissues and in a number of cells/tissues of neural crest origin. Expression of both the endogenous MyoD gene and a reporter gene driven by MyoD regulatory elements was similar in wild-type and homozygous null Gig1nlacZ embryos, and mutant mice were viable and fertile, indicating that the functions of Gig1 are redundant with other factors. © 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.