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Medical News
October 14, 1999
The Record

An added benefit

Immune system protein could be critical in kidney disorders and other diseases

By Barbra Rodriguez

Evolution has an uncanny way of reusing good blueprints, as researchers recently were reminded when they discovered that a protein involved in immune-cell interactions might be important for kidney function.

Andrey S. Shaw, M.D., principal investigator of the research on the CD2-associated protein, said, "Defects in CD2AP may play a critical role in some kidney diseases."

The research is published in the Oct. 8 issue of Science. The first authors of the paper are postdoctoral fellow Neng-Yao Shih, Ph.D., and research associate Jun Li, who both work in Shaw's laboratory at the School of Medicine.

Shaw, associate professor of pathology, led a team of researchers who studied the protein. His group originally cloned the gene as a molecule important for T cell function. The researchers were surprised to find that CD2AP also is specifically expressed in the kidney glomerulus, which filters toxins and other substances from the blood.

The researchers found that mice lacking CD2AP had defective glomeruli and died of renal failure. When they analyzed these mice, they found that CD2AP was expressed in the kidney, mainly in a cell known as a glomerular epithelial cell.

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First-year Program in Physical
Therapy students Geoffrey Nelle
(left) and Anne Schmidt (right)
practice gait training techniques
under the watchful eye of Tammy
Burlis, an instructor in the program.
Using a gait belt, Nelle helps
Schmidt stand in preparation for
walking with the support of
parallel bars.

Sanes: Studies synapses

Sanes named Alumni Endowed Professor of Neurology

By Linda Sage

Joshua R. Sanes, Ph.D., professor of anatomy and neurobiology, has been named the Alumni Endowed Professor of Neurobiology.

"The Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association launched these professorships in 1978 to help attract and retain renowned physicians and scientists," said William A. Peck, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. "We are delighted that this sixth chair will honor Joshua Sanes, an intellectual leader in the field of neuroscience."

Alumni professorships combine unrestricted gifts from medical alumni and former house staff with gifts from friends of the medical school. The minimum endowment for each position is $1.5 million.

Sanes joined the University in 1980 as an assistant professor. He studies intercellular connections called synapses.

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$1.1 million grant helps Castro establish unique Asthma Clinical Research Center

Mario Castro, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, has received a five-year $1.1 million grant from the American Lung Association to fund an Asthma Clinical Research Center (ACRC). Washington University, Saint Louis University, the American Lung Association of Eastern Missouri (ALAEM) and private physicians have teamed up to establish this center.

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