Jerry Kaplan, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

 

Titles:

  • Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut Health Center, Department of Physiology, Farmington, CT
  • Associate Professor, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Associate Professor (with tenure), University of Connecticut Health Center, Department of Physiology, Farmington, CT
  • Tenure, Associate Professor, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Department of Cell, Viral and Molecular Biology, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Professor, University of Utah, College of Medicine, Department of Pathology, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Department of Cell, Viral and Molecular Biology, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Acting Chairperson, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Department of Cell, Viral and Molecular Biology, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Director, University of Utah, Medical Student Research Program, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Assistant Vice President for Health Sciences for Basic Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Utah, Department of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Associate Dean for Research, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT

Scholarly Emphasis: Cell Biology & Immunology

Our research focuses on two major areas.  First, we are interested in iron metabolism.  Iron is an element required by virtually all organisms.  The facile ability of iron to gain and loose electrons renders this metal an essential cofactor in redox reactions.  Organisms as disparate as prokaryotes and mammals have developed a variety of mechanisms to obtain iron and regulate its storage and utilization.  We utilize yeast as a model system to study iron metabolism because of the relative ease of genetic manipulation.  We have utilized a variety of genetic screens to identify yeast genes required for iron transport across the plasma membrane for iron storage in the yeast vacuole.  We have also identified molecules that respond to both high and low iron and regulate the transcription of iron transporters.  Our studies in yeast have led to the identification of both plant and mammalian iron transporters.

We have also identified the mechanisms underlying both the regulation and malregulation of mammalian iron-linked disorders.  We determined that entry of iron from cells into plasma is dependent upon the interaction of the iron exporter ferroportin with the peptide hormone hepcidin.  Hepcidin is synthesized by the liver in response to inflammation and iron stores and is a negative regulator of plasma iron.  We determined that hepcidin binds to ferroportin inducing its internalization and degradation.  Mammalian iron overload disease is the result of either inadequate hepcidin production or mutations in ferroportin that lead to hepcidin resistance.  Our current studies have identified the mechanism of hepcidin-mediated ferroportin internalization and degradation.

Our second area of research is the study of membrane trafficking.  We are interested in identifying molecules that regulate the fusion and fission of endocytic vesicles.  Many human diseases result from alterations vesicle trafficking and delivery to the lysosomes.  One such disease is Chediak-Higashi syndrome in which lysosomes are abnormally large.  We have identified the gene responsible for this disorder and have ongoing studies to identify the biochemical defect responsible for the enlargement of lysosomes.



Selected Publications

  • Kumanovics A, Poruk KE, Osborn KA, Ward DM, Kaplan J. (2006). YKE4 (YIL023C) encodes a bidirectional zinc transporter in the endoplasmic reticulum of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. J Biol Chem, 281(32), 22566-74.
  • Davis-Kaplan SR, Compton MA, Flannery AR, Ward DM, Kaplan J, Stevens TH, Graham LA. (2006). PKR1 encodes an assembly factor for the yeast V-type ATPase. J Biol Chem.
  • Langelier C, von Schwedler UK, Fisher RD, De Domenico I, White PL, Hill CP, Kaplan J, Ward D, Sundquist WI. (2006). Human ESCRT-II complex and its role in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 release. J Virol, 80(19), 9465-80.
  • De Domenico I, Vaughn MB, Li L, Bagley D, Musci G, Ward DM, Kaplan J. (2006). Ferroportin-mediated mobilization of ferritin iron precedes ferritin degradation by the proteasome. EMBO J, 25(22), 5396-404.
  • Kim SA, Punshon T, Lanzirotti A, Li L, Alonso JM, Ecker JR, Kaplan J, Guerinot ML. (2006). Localization of iron in Arabidopsis seed requires the vacuolar membrane transporter VIT1. Science, 314(5803), 1295-8.
  • Zohn IE, De Domenico I, Pollock A, Ward DM, Goodman JF, Liang X, Sanchez AJ, Niswander L, Kaplan J. (2007). The flatiron mutation in mouse ferroportin acts as a dominant negative to cause ferroportin disease. Blood.
  • De Domenico I, Ward DM, Musci G, Kaplan J. (2007). Evidence for the multimeric structure of ferroportin. Blood, 109(5), 2205-9.

Courses Taught:  

Honors and Awards

  • 2005, Benning Presidential Endowed Chair
  • Member, Benning Society

Professional Education

  • 1962 - 1966 B.S. State University of New York (Biology)
  • 1966 - 1971 Ph.D. Purdue University (Biological Sciences)
  • 1971 - 1973 FELLOW Harvard Medical School (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics)