Karen Lyons

Karen Lyons, PhD

Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Biological Chemistry



Contact Information

Scientific Interests

Dr. Karen Lyons' research focuses on growth factor signaling in mammalian development and disease.

Many of the inductive events associated with vertebrate development are mediated by diffusible signals. The involvement of members of the transforming growth factor -- a family of growth regulatory molecules in aspects of cell cycle control, gene expression and cell-cell interactions -- is well established. Members of the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) subgroup of TGFa-related molecules have been implicated in many key signaling events in vertebrates and invertebrates. Lyons and her colleagues are using the mouse as a model organism to study the roles of these regulatory factors during vertebrate development.

The researchers are interested in identifying the cellular targets of action of TGFa-related genes in a developmental context. Their approach is to take advantage of the genetic capabilities the mouse system offers, including transgenic and gene targeting technologies. Lyons and her colleagues also are using organ and cell culture strategies to define the molecular mechanism of action of TGFa-related molecules in a biologically relevant context. These efforts have been facilitated by the recent identification of receptors for specific BMPs. The researchers are currently developing cell culture systems and in vivo models to study BMP-mediated receptor signaling.

Highlighted Publications

Kennedy L, Liu S, Shi-Wen X, Chen Y, Eastwood M, Carter DE, Lyons KM, Black CM, Abraham DJ, Leask A. CCN2 is necessary for the function of mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Exp Cell Res. 2007; 313(5): 952-64.

Wan DC, Shi YY, Nacamuli RP, Quarto N, Lyons KM, Longaker MT. Osteogenic differentiation of mouse adipose-derived adult stromal cells requires retinoic acid and bone morphogenetic protein receptor type IB signaling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006; 103(33): 12335-40.

Yoon BS, Pogue R, Ovchinnikov DA, Yoshii I, Mishina Y, Behringer RR, Lyons KM. BMPs regulate multiple aspects of growth-plate chondrogenesis through opposing actions on FGF pathways. Development. 2006; 133(23): 4667-78.

Zakin L, Reversade B, Kuroda H, Lyons KM, De Robertis EM. Sirenomelia in Bmp7 and Tsg compound mutant mice: requirement for Bmp signaling in the development of ventral posterior mesoderm. Development. 2005; 132(10): 2489-99.

Yoon BS, Lyons KM. Multiple functions of BMPs in chondrogenesis. J Cell Biochem. 2004; 93(1): 93-103.