Mary Jo Koroly, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor
Director, Center for Pre-Collegiate Education and Training
Research: Membrane Biology
Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College, 1969
Environmental agents (nutrients, pollutants, etc.) regulate the synthesis, processing, subcellular location, and/or physico-enzymatic properties of specific cell receptors by mechanisms not yet understood, but of potential clinical importance. For example: (1) Dietary omega-3 fatty acids decrease serum cholesterol, and thus lower the risk of atherogenesis. Since lipoprotein receptors control sterol metabolism, we are exploring changes in the structure/function of LDL receptors both in monocytes from human subjects after normal and fish-oil enriched diets and in endothelial cells exposed to appropriate lipids in culture. Techniques include Scatchard analyses of receptor binding in vitro, ligand- and immunoblots of solutibilized receptors, and analyses of membrane lipid composition and fluidity. (2) Polyaromatic compounds (e.g., dioxin) impact on the expression of several growth factor receptors during specific periods in development, perhaps explaining the observed fetotoxicity. We are asking how dioxin affects epidermal growth factor (EGF) and insulin receptor sysnthesis, ligand binding, protein kinase activities, and subcellular distribution in maternal and fetal rat tissues.