Pathology Faculty Member

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    Experimental Pathology
    105-M Whitehead Bldg., 615 Michael St.
    Atlanta, GA 30322
    404 727-8543 Phone

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    Asma Nusrat, MD

    Epithelial Pathobiology
    Gastrointestinal Pathology

    Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

    Pathology Faculty Photo

    Other Appointments/Positions

    Instructor in Patholgy, Harvard Medical School

    Consultant, Gastrointestinal Pathology Service, Children's Hospital, Boston

    Associate Pathologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital

    Staff Pathologist, Gastrointestinal and Hepatobiliary Pathology, Emory University

    Member, Graduate Training Program in Cell Biology& Biochemistry, Emory University

    Member, Winship Cancer Center, Emory University

    Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

    Professor (tenured), Emory University School of Medicine

    Associate Professor (tenured), Emory University School of Medicine

    Pathology Division(s):
    Anatomic Pathology
    Experimental Pathology

    Email Address:


    Resident   Brigham & Womens Hospital, Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, 1987 - 1989

    Postdoc   Brigham & Womens Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, 1989 - 1992

    M.D.   FJ Medical College, 1982 -

    Research Interests:

    - Epithelial Cell Biology
    Our research interests focus on biology of epithelial cells. Epithelial cells in organ systems such as the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts function as key regulated barriers that interface distinct microenvironments in the luminal vs. the subepithelial tissue compartments. Epithelial barrier function is regulated by a series of intercellular junctions referred to as the apical junctional complex and desmosomes. Our laboratory is studying the structure and function of protein complexes in such intercellular junctions using molecular and cell biologic approaches. We have demonstrated that a subset of apical junctional complex proteins reside in membrane rafts and that they are transported inside cells in distinct trafficking pathways. In addition to mechanical regulation of cell-cell adhesion, intercellular junction proteins function as active signaling centers that regulate epithelial cell differentiation. Dysregulation of such intercellular junction signaling is an important pathobiologic basis for development of epithelial cancers. We are examining the role of intercellular junction proteins in cancer development. An improved understanding of epithelial intercellular association will therefore not only aid in understanding the basic biology of epithelial cell-cell affiliation but will also aid in the design of vaccines and drugs that can be delivered via this route and in development of cancer therapies.

    Other projects in our laboratory are related to the study of mechanisms by which epithelial cells migrate as a cohesive sheet of cells to reseal small wounds. This event is referred to as restitution. Our long term objectives are to; a) determine molecular mechanisms of epithelial cell migration, b) examine mechanism by which epithelial cell-cell contacts communicate with cell-matrix associations so as to achieve coordination migration of the epithelial sheet. Understanding such mechanisms will promote our knowledge of basic biological/pathological processes such as epithelial cell migration during epithelial wound closure and a lack of coordinated cell migration during tumor metastasis.

    - Epithelial Cell Biology
    1. Molecular characterization, identification and regulation of protein complexes in intercellular junctions of epithelial cells. Relationship of intercellular association, epithelial cell differentiation and oncogenesis.

    2. Molecular mechanisms of epithelial cell migration and polarization.

    Clinical Focus:

    Gastrointestinal/Hepatobiliary Pathology

    Honors / Awards:

    Pluto Society Member, 2007

    Nominating Committee, Intestinal Disorder Section, AGA, 2006-present

    Member, ASIP/FASEB program committee, 2005-present

    NIH-NIDDK-GMPB Study Section member

    , 2005-present

    Chrohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, 2005

    Associate Editor, Molecular Biology of the Cell

    , 2004-present

    RO-1, National Institute of Health, 2003

    Dean's Clinical Investigator Award

    , 2002

    RO-1, National Institute of Health, 2001

    Biomedical Research grant, Arthritis Foundation, 2001

    Research Grant, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, 2000

    Dean's Clinical Investigator Award

    , 1999

    First Award (R29), National Institute of Health, 1998

    Emory-Georgia Tech. Collaboration grant, 1998

    First Award, Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America, 1998

    NIH Study Section member GMA2 - Ad-Hoc, 1998

    Clinical Investigator Award, National Institute of Health, 1993

    Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, Career Development Award, 1992

    Individual National Research Service Award, 1989

    Chief Resident in Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, 1989

    Selected Publications:

    Published and Accepted Research Articles -

    Hopkins AM, Pineda A, Brown, Winfree ML, GT Brown, Nusrat A. Organised migration of epithelial cells requires control of adhesion and protrusion through Rho kinase effectors. 2007. Am. J. Physiology. Mar;292(3):G806-17

    Babbin BA, Parkos CA, Mandell KJ, Winfree M, Laur O, Ivanov AI, Nusrat A. Annexin 2 regulates intestinal epithelial cell spreading and wound closure through Rho-related signaling. 2007. Am. J. Pathology. Mar;170(3):951-66.

    Samarin SN, Ivanov AI, Flatau G, Parkos CA, Nusrat A. Rho/ROCK-II Signaling Mediates Disassembly of Epithelial Apical Junctions. Mol Biol Cell. 2007.

    Wang Z, Wade P, Mandell KJ, Akyildiz A, Parkos CA, Mrsny RJ, Nusrat A. Raf 1 represses expression of the tight junction protein occludin via activation of the zinc finger transcription factor Slug. Oncogene. 2006. In Press.

    Ivanov AI, McCall IC, Babbin B, Samarin SN, Nusrat A, Parkos CA. Microtubules regulate disassembly of epithelial apical junctions. BMC Cell Biol. 2006. Mar 1;7(1):12.

    Babbin BA, Lee WY, Parkos CA, Winfree LM, Akyildiz A, Perretti M, Nusrat A. Annexin I regulates SKCO-15 cell invation by signaling through formyl peptide receptors. J Biol Chem. 2006. Jul 14;281(28):19588-99.

    Utech M, Ivanov AI, Samarin SN, Bruewer M, Turner JR, Mrsny RJ, Parkos CA, Nusrat A. Mechanism of IFN-{gamma} induced Endocytosis of Tight Junction Proteins: Myosin II-dependent Vacuolarization of the Apical Plasma Membrane. Mol Biol Cell. 2005. Oct;16(10):5040-52.

    Ivanov AI, Hunt D, Utech M, Nusrat A, Parkos CA. Differential Roles for Actin Polymerization and a Myosin II Motor in Assembly of the Epithelial Apical Junctional Complex. Mol Biol Cell. 2005. Jun;16(6):2636-50.

    Nusrat A, Brown GT, Tom J, Drake A, Bui TT, Quan C, Mrsny RJ. Multiple Protein Interactions Involving Proposed Extracellular Loop Domains of the Tight Junction Protein Occludin. Mol Biol Cell. 2005. Apr;16(4):1725-34.

    Bruewer M, Utech M, Ivanov AI, Hopkins AM, Parkos CA, Nusrat A. Interferon-¿ induces internalization of epithelial tight junction proteins via a macropinocytosis-like process. FASEB J. 2005. Jun;19(8):923-33.

    Wang Z, Mandell KJ, Parkos CA, Mrsny RJ, Nusrat A. The Second Loop of Occludin is Required for Suppression of Raf1-induced Tumor Growth. Oncogene. 2005. Jun 23;24(27):4412-20.

    Tong Q, Vassilieva EV, Ivanov AI, Wang Z, Brown GT, Parkos CA, Nusrat A. Interferon-g inhibits T84 epithelial cell migration by redirecting transcytosis of b1 integrin from the migrating leading edge. J Immunol. 2005. Sep 15;175(6):4030-8.

    Mandell KJ, Babbin BA, Nusrat A, Parkos CA. Junctional adhesion molecule-1 (JAM1) regulates epithelial cell morphology through effects on beta 1 integrins and Rap1 activity. J Biol Chem. 2005 Mar 25;280(12):11665-74.

    Bruewer M, Hopkins AM, Hobert ME, Nusrat A, Madara JL. Rho A, Rac1 and Cdc42 exert distinct effects on epithelial barrier via selective and biochemical modulation of junctional proteins and F-actin. Am. J. Physio 2004; 287(2):C327-35.

    Zen K, Babbin BA, Liu Y, Whelan JB, Nusrat A, Parkos CA. JAM-C is a Component of Desmosomes and a Ligand for CD11b/CD18 - mediated Neutrophil Transepithelial Migration. Mol.Bio.Cell. 2004: 15:3926-37.

    Hopkins AM, Bruewer M, Brown GT, Pineda AA, Ha JJ, Winfree LM, Walsh SV, Babbin BA, Nusrat A. Epithelial cell spreading induced by hepatocyte growth factor influences paxillin protein synthesis and post-translational modification. Am J Physiol Gastro/Liver 2004: 287(4):G886-98.

    Ivanov AI, Nusrat A, Parkos CA. Endocytosis of epithelial junctional proteins by a clathrin-mediated pathway into a unique storage compartment. Mol. Biol. Cell 2004:15:176-88.

    Ivanov AI, McCall IC, Parkos CA, Nusrat A. Role for Actin Filament Turnover and a Myosin II Motor in Cytoskeleton-Driven Disassembly of the Epithelial Apical Junctional Complex. Mol. Biol. Cell 2004: 15:2639-51.

    Hopkins AM,. Walsh SV, Chen JA, Verkade P, Boquet P, Nusrat A. Constitutive activation of Rho proteins by cytotoxic necrotizing factor-1 (CNF-1) influences tight junction structure and epithelial barrier function. J Cell Sci. 2003; 116:725-742.

    Bruewer M, Luegering A, Kucharzik T, Parkos CA, Madara JL, Hopkins AM, Nusrat A. Pro-inflammatory cytokines disrupt epithelial barrier function by apoptosis-independent mechanisms. J Immunol. 2003;171:6164-72.

    Edens HA, Levi BP, Jaye DL, Walsh S, Reaves TA, Turner JR, Nusrat A, Parkos CA. Neutrophil transepithelial migration: evidence for sequential, contact-dependent signaling events and enhanced paracellular permeability independent of transjunctional migration. J Immunol. 2002;169(1):476-86.

    Walsh SV, Hopkins AM, Chen J, Narumiya S, Parkos CA, Nusrat A. Rho-Kinase regulates Tight Junction function and is necessary For Tight Junction assembly in polarized intestinal epithelia. Gastroenterology. 2001:121:566-579.

    Kucharzik T., Walsh SV, Chen J, Parkos CA, Nusrat A. Neutrophil transmigration in inflammatory bowel disease is associated with differential expression of epithelial intercellular junction proteins. Am. J. Pathol. 2001; 159(6):2001-9.

    Barton ES, Forrest JC, Connolly JL, Chappel JD, Schnell F, Liu Y, Nusrat A, Parkos CA, Dermody TS. Junction adhesion molecule is a receptor for reovirus. Cell. 2001;104:441-51.

    Nusrat A, von-Eichelstreiber C, Turner JR, Verkade P, Madara JL, Parkos CA. Clostridium difficile toxins disrupt epithelial barrier function by altering membrane microdomain localization of tight junction proteins. Infect Immun. 2001; 69(3):1329-36.

    Book Chapters -

    Bruewer M, Nusrat A. Actin cytoskeletal regulation of intercellular tight junctions. 2006; Selected topics on Tight Junctions" will be published by Ronald G. Landes.