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  • Maureen Wirschell


    Assistant Professor
    Phone: (601) 984-1858
    E-mail: mwirschell@umc.edu


    • PhD in Cell Biology, 2004, University of Massachusetts Medical School. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Thesis adviser: Dr. George B. Witman.
    • Postdoctoral training,: 2004-12, Emory University School of Medicine. Cell Biology Department. Adviser: Dr. Winfield S. Sale.
    • Assistant professor (2012-present), Department of Biochemistry, UMMC

    Research Interests

    Dyneins are microtubule motors comprised of several subunits that assemble to form large, multi-subunit complexes which are targeted to distinct sites within the cell to perform a wide-range of cellular processes including playing critical roles in mitosis, transport of vesicles, viruses and mRNAs, assembly of the golgi and the movement of cilia (flagella).

    Cilia are important organelles found on nearly every differentiated cell and play vital motile and signaling roles in the adult human body and during development. Defects in cilia, and the ciliary dyneins which drive their movement, can lead to a wide range of pathologies called “the ciliopathies” which result in defective development and function of nearly every organ system in the adult body. Failure to assemble the ciliary dynein motors or target them to the cilium results in severe defects in ciliary movement. However, we are only just beginning to understand dynein assembly and targeting mechanisms. Moreover, dynein motor activity is tightly regulated, especially in the cilium, where multiple dynein motors work in a coordinated manner to generate complex ciliary bends and precise ciliary beat frequencies.

    My work uses Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model experimental organism to study mechanisms for assembly and targeting of the dynein motors to distinct sites in the cell and mechanisms that regulate dynein motor activity. "Chlamy" is a unicellular green algae with 2 cilia that are used for locomotion. Cilia are highly conserved organelles and Chlamydomonas offers exceptional experimental advantages for the study of cilia and the dynein motors that drive their movement, including genetic, ultrastructural, molecular and biochemical approaches.


    • Wirschell, M, Pazour, G, Yoda, A, Hirono, M. Kamiya, R, and Witman, G.B. 2004 Oda5p is required for assembly of the outer dynein arm and an associated flagellar adenylate kinase. Molecular Biology of the Cell.  15: 2729-2741. 
    • Wirschell, M, Hendrickson, TW, and Sale, WS. 2007.  Keeping an eye on I1:  I1 dynein as a model for flagellar dynein assembly and regulation. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton. 64(8):569-79. 
    • Wirschell, M, Zhou, F, Yang C, Yang P, Diener D, Gaillard A, Rosenbaum JL, and Sale WS. 2008. Building a radial spoke: Flagellar radial spoke protein 3 (RSP3) is a dimer. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton. 65(3): 238-248. 
    • Wirschell, M, Yang, C, Yang, P, Fox, L, Yanagisawa, H, Kamiya, R, Witman, GB, Porter, M, and Sale,     WS.  2009. IC97 is a novel intermediate chain of I1 dynein that interacts with tubulin and regulatesinterdoublet sliding.  Molecular Biology of the Cell. 20(13): 3044-3054. 
    • Bower, R, Perrone, C, O'Toole, E, Fox, L, Wirschell, M, Sale, WS, and Porter, ME. 2009. IC138 defines a subdomain at the base of the I1 dynein that regulates microtubule sliding and flagellar motility. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 20 (13): 3055-3063.                  
    •  Ikeda, K, Yamamoto, R, Wirschell, M, Yagi, T, Bower, R, Porter, ME, Sale, WS, and Kamiya, R. 2009.  A novel ankryin-repeat protein interacts with the regulatory complex of inner arm dynein f (I1) of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.  Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 66(8): 448-456.  
    • Yang, P, Yang C, Wirschell, M and Davis S. 2009. Novel LC8 mutations have disparate affects on the assembly and stability of flagellar complexes. Journal of Biological Chemistry 284(45):31412-21.                 
    • Elam, C., Sale, W.S., and Wirschell, M. 2009. The regulation of dynein-driven microtubule sliding in Chlamydomonas flagella by axonemal kinases and phosphatases. Methods in Cell Biology. S.M. King and G.J. Pazour, editors.  
    • Gokhale, A., Wirschell, M., and Sale, W.S. 2009. Regulation of dynein-driven microtubule sliding by the axonemal protein kinase CK1 in Chlamydomonas flagella.  Journal of Cell Biology.186(6):817-24.          
    • Wirschell M, Yamamoto R, Alford L, Gokhale A, Gaillard A, Sale WS. 2011. Regulation of ciliary motility: Conserved protein kinases and phosphatases are targeted and anchored in the ciliary axoneme. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics.  510(2): 93-100.  
    • Elam C.A., Wirschell, M., Yamamoto, R., Fox, L.A., York, K., Kamiya, R., Dutcher, S.K., Sale, W.S.. 2011. An axonemal PP2A B-subunit is required for PP2A localization and flagellar motility. Cytoskeleton  68(7):363-72.