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Contact Details

Phone
64 3 479 7329
Email
fiona.mcdonald@otago.ac.nz
Position
Professor
Department
Department of Physiology
Qualifications
DPhil(Oxon)
Research summary
Kidney control of blood pressure
Teaching
  • PHSL 233 Epithelial signalling and polarity
  • PHSL 343 Endocytosis in epithelia; trafficking pathways of the epithelial sodium channel; polycystic kidney disease
  • PHSL 473 Kidney control of blood pressure
Memberships
  • Member of Kidney in Health and Disease Research Group
  • New Zealand Association of Scientists
  • NZ Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Society
  • Physiological Society of NZ
  • Dunedin Company of Physiologists

Research

How do proteins find their way to their correct location in a cell? What factors control this ‘protein trafficking’ process? Using the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), essential for kidney control of blood pressure, we have shown that ubiquitin pathway proteins control the number of ENaCs at the cell surface resulting in changes in Na+ absorption. As part of a protein interaction screen we discovered that COMMD family proteins also regulate ENaC trafficking. The mechanisms and implications of this pathway are under investigation.

Pancreatic acinar cells are responsible for digestive enzyme secretion subsequently necessary for breakdown of ingested food. Unregulated activation of digestive enzymes in the acinar cells of the pancreas can cause cell damage, in a process called pancreatitis. The COMMD10 protein is highly expressed in pancreas and has links to the protein secretory pathway; we are currently investigating the role of COMMD10 in the production and secretion of digestive enzymes from pancreatic acinar cells.

Publications

Kilworth, J. N. K., Munro, M. L., & McDonald, F. J. (2023, August). Investigating the functional interaction between the epithelial sodium channel and Ca2+ signalling in breast cancer. Poster session presented at the 17th New Zealand Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci), Queenstown, New Zealand. Conference Contribution - Poster Presentation (not in published proceedings)

Atta Manu, E., Munro, M., Ware, A., & McDonald, F. (2023, August). The mechanisms through which ENaC negatively modulates breast cancer proliferation and metastasis. Poster session presented at the 17th New Zealand Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci), Queenstown, New Zealand. Conference Contribution - Poster Presentation (not in published proceedings)

Kumar, S. S., Bouwer, G. T., Jackson, M. K., Perkinson, M. R., McDonald, F. J., Brown, C. H., & Augustine, R. A. (2023). Kisspeptin neuron projections to oxytocin neurons are not necessary for parturition in the mouse. Brain Structure & Function, 228, 1535-1548. doi: 10.1007/s00429-023-02670-7 Journal - Research Article

Hamilton, K., Logue, M., Chueng, T., Pilmore, E., Devor, D., & McDonald, F. (2023). Retromer involvement in trafficking of the calcium-activated K channel, KCa3.1. Physiology, 38(Suppl. 1). doi: 10.1152/physiol.2023.38.S1.5733913 Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Logue, M., Farquhar, R. E., Eckhoff-Björngard, Y., Cheung, T. T., Devor, D. C., McDonald, F. J., & Hamilton, K. L. (2023). The exocyst complex is required for the trafficking and delivery of KCa3.1 to the basolateral membrane of polarized epithelia. American Journal of Physiology: Cell Physiology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00374.2022 Journal - Research Article

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