The overarching current focus of our work is the basic cell and molecular biology of organ fibrosis. We are interested in the role of the cytoskeleton – as a cell fate-determining device – in regulating cellular structure and function, including gene expressionintercellular contacts, the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the development of profibrotic epithelial phenotype (PEP). We study the nuclear transport of fibrogenic and mechanosensitive transcription factors (MRTF, TAZ, YAP), and the role and regulation of these proteins in various disease entities (e.g. kidney fibrosis, polycystic kidney disease, etc). We also investigate the effect of cytoskeletal changes and the associated signaling on organellar structure/function, including the remodeling of mitochondria and the primary cilium.  The studies are organically linked to our previous and continuing interest in cellular stress signaling, particularly as pertains to pH and volume regulation (e.g. osmotic stress). Taken together our studies have a dual aim: to understand fundamental mechanisms underlying structure-dependent regulation of normal and pathologic cellular functions, and to explore key cellular evets whereby these processes contribute to the pathogenesis of organ fibrosis, a major and silent killer (45% of all death), affecting all organ systems.


Recent Publications

  1. Mukkala, AN, Jerkic, M, Khan, Z, Szaszi, K, Kapus, A, Rotstein, O et al.. Therapeutic Effects of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Require Mitochondrial Transfer and Quality Control. Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24 (21):. doi: 10.3390/ijms242115788. PubMed PMID:37958771 PubMed Central PMC10647450.
  2. Kofler, M, Kapus, A. Nuclear Import and Export of YAP and TAZ. Cancers (Basel). 2023;15 (20):. doi: 10.3390/cancers15204956. PubMed PMID:37894323 PubMed Central PMC10605228.
  3. Guo, X, Khosraviani, N, Raju, S, Singh, J, Farahani, NZ, Abramian, M et al.. Endothelial ACKR1 is induced by neutrophil contact and down-regulated by secretion in extracellular vesicles. Front Immunol. 2023;14 :1181016. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1181016. PubMed PMID:37153544 PubMed Central PMC10160463.
  4. Naraiah Mukkala, A, Petrut, R, Goldfarb, R, Leigh Beroncal, E, Ho Leung, C, Khan, Z et al.. Augmented Parkin-dependent mitophagy underlies the hepatoprotective effect of remote ischemic conditioning used prior to hemorrhagic shock. Mitochondrion. 2023;70 :20-30. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2023.03.002. PubMed PMID:36906251 .
  5. Burger, D, Abdelrasoul, A, Alexander, RT, Ballermann, B, Bridgewater, D, Chan, JSD et al.. Advancing Discovery Research in Nephrology in Canada: A Conference Report From the 2021 Molecules and Mechanisms Mediating Kidney Health and Disease (M3K) Scientific Meeting and Investigator Summit. Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2022;9 :20543581221144824. doi: 10.1177/20543581221144824. PubMed PMID:36545249 PubMed Central PMC9761209.
  6. Ailenberg, M, Kapus, A, Leung, CH, Szaszi, K, Williams, P, diCiano-Oliveira, C et al.. ACTIVATION OF THE MITOCHONDRIAL ANTIVIRAL SIGNALING PROTEIN (MAVS) FOLLOWING LIVER ISCHEMIA/REPERFUSION AND ITS EFFECT ON INFLAMMATION AND INJURY. Shock. 2022;58 (1):78-89. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000001949. PubMed PMID:35670454 PubMed Central PMC9415233.
  7. Wang, AY, Coelho, NM, Arora, PD, Wang, Y, Eymael, D, Ji, C et al.. DDR1 associates with TRPV4 in cell-matrix adhesions to enable calcium-regulated myosin activity and collagen compaction. J Cell Physiol. 2022;237 (5):2451-2468. doi: 10.1002/jcp.30696. PubMed PMID:35150133 .
  8. Ailenberg, M, Kapus, A, Rotstein, OD. Improved SARS-CoV-2 PCR detection and genotyping with double-bubble primers. Biotechniques. 2021;71 (6):587-597. doi: 10.2144/btn-2021-0063. PubMed PMID:34519222 PubMed Central PMC8544493.
  9. Speight, P, Rozycki, M, Venugopal, S, Szászi, K, Kofler, M, Kapus, A et al.. Myocardin-related transcription factor and serum response factor regulate cilium turnover by both transcriptional and local mechanisms. iScience. 2021;24 (7):102739. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102739. PubMed PMID:34278253 PubMed Central PMC8261663.
  10. Miranda, MZ, Lichner, Z, Szászi, K, Kapus, A. MRTF: Basic Biology and Role in Kidney Disease. Int J Mol Sci. 2021;22 (11):. doi: 10.3390/ijms22116040. PubMed PMID:34204945 PubMed Central PMC8199744.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Member of the Basic Science Committee, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Associate Vice Chair of Research, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto
  • Former grant review panel member, Kidney Foundation of Canada
  • Member, Banting Foundation Grant Panel
  • Member of the research committee, Department of Surgery
  • Regular Member, Institute of Medical Science (IMS), University of Toronto
  • Member of the Appointments Committee, Institute of Medical Science (IMS), University of Toronto
  • Course Coordinator: Cell Migration Course, Human Biology Program
  • Seminar leader (biochemistry for medical students)
  • Reviewer at several international journals including Amer. J. Physiol., Amer. J. Pathol., Amer. J. of Respiratory Cell and Mol. Biol., Biochem. J., J. Cell Science, EMBO J, Exp. Cell Research, FEBS letters, J. Biol. Chem., J. Leukocyte Biol., Oncogene, PNAS, Thrombosis and Hemostasis and others