Donna Peters, PhD

Portrait of Donna Peters, PhD
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
6590 MSC
1300 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 262-4626
Focus Groups: 
Cancer Biology
Signal Transduction
PhD, Rutgers University
Research Summary: 
Cell-matrix signaling in the human eye; glaucoma
Research Detail: 

It is well established that a number of signal transduction events that govern both normal and abnormal cell behavior are modulated by interactions between cells and their extracellular matrix. The significance of these cell-matrix interactions and the signal transduction pathways regulated by them is clearly illustrated by the diversity and importance of biological processes controlled by them. Among these biological processes are gene expression, cell growth, apoptosis, differentiation, adhesion, cell migration, and cell contractility.

My laboratory is studying the role of cell-matrix interactions in the anterior chamber of the human eye so that we can better understand the cause of glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease that is known to be the world's second leading cause of blindness. It is believed to be a defect in mechanochemical signaling events that serve to maintain normal levels of intraocular fluid in the anterior chamber of the eye.

My laboratory is interested in understanding what types of cell-matrix interactions occur in the anterior chamber of the human eye and the types of signal transduction events that they control. Recent studies in my laboratory have shown that interactions with an extracellular matrix protein called fibronectin help modulate the levels of intraocular pressure in the human eye and the movement of fluid through the anterior chamber. We have identified the domain in fibronectin that regulates intraocular pressure and at least two signaling molecules whose function is controlled by this domain. We are currently looking for the receptor that interacts with this domain and are characterizing the components of the signaling pathways and the biological processes governed by this interaction. Our long-term goal is to identify potential extracellular and intracellular targets that can be used to control glaucoma via genetic approaches such as gene therapy.

Selected Publications: 
Faralli JA, Gagen D, Filla MS, Crotti TN, Peters DM Dexamethasone increases αvβ3 integrin expression and affinity through a calcineurin/NFAT pathway. BBA 1833:3306-3313. 2013. PMCID: PMC3864090
Gagen D, Filla MS, Clark R, Liton P, Peters DM. Activated αvβ3 integrin regulates αvβ5 integrin-mediated phagocytosis in trabecular meshwork cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 54:5000-11. 2013. PMCID: PMC3723377
Filla MS, Clark, R, Peters, DM A syndecan-4 binding peptide derived from laminin 5 uses a novel PKCε pathway to induce cross-linked actin network (CLAN) formation in human trabecular meshwork (HTM) cells. Exp Cell Res. 327:171-182. 2014 PMCID: PMC4164596.
Faralli JA, Clark RW, Filla MS, Peters DM. NFATc1 activity regulates the expression of myocilin induced by dexamethasone. Exp Eye Res. 130:9-16. 2015. PMCID:PMC4276455.
Clark R, Nosie A, Walker T, et al. "Comparative genomic and proteomic analysis of cytoskeletal changes in dexamethasone-treated trabecular meshwork cells." Mol. Cell Proteomics. 2013;12(1):194-206.
Filla MS, Schwinn MK, Nosie, A, Clark, R., Peters DM. Dexamethasone-associated cross-linked actin network (CLAN) formation in human trabecular meshwork (HTM) cells involves 3 integrin signaling. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci.52:2952-2959. 2011.
Lee ES, Gabelt BT, Faralli JA, Peters DM, Brandt CR, Kaufman PL, Bhattacharya SK. COCH transgene expression in cultured human trabecular meshwork cells and its effect on outflow facility in monkey organ cultured anterior segments. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 51:2060-6, 2010.
Schwinn MK, Gonzalez JM Gabelt BT, Sheibani N, Kaufman PL, Peters DM. Heparin II domain of fibronectin mediates contractility through an alpha4beta1 co-signaling pathway. Exp Eye Res 316:1500-12, 2010.
Farilla JA, Newman JR, Sheibani N, Dedhar S, Peters DM. Integrin linked kinase regulates integrin signaling in human trabecular meshwork cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 52:1684-1692. 2010.
Filla,M.S., Schwinn, M.K., Sheibani, N., Kaufman,P.L., and Peters,D.M.P. Regulation of cross-linked actin network (CLAN) formation in human trabecular meshwork (HTM) cells by convergence of distinct beta1 and beta3 integrin pathways. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 50(12):5723-31. 2009.
Gonzalez, J.M. Jr., Hu,Y., Gabelt, B. Kaufman,P.L. and Peters,D.M.P. Identification of the active site in the heparin II domain of fibronectin that increases outflow facility in cultured monkey anterior segments. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci.50:235-241. 2009.
Faralli,J.A., Schwinn,M.K., Gonzalez, Jr., Filla,M.S., Peters,D.M. Functional properties of fibronectin in the Trabecular Meshwork. Exp. Eye Res. accepted 2009.
Chen,Q., Sivakumar,P., Barley,C., Peters,D.M. and Dallas,S.L. Potential role for heparan sulfate proteoglycans in regulation of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) by modulating assembly of latent TGF-beta-binding protein-1. J. Biol. Chem. 282:26418-26430.
Maqueda,A., Moyano,J.V., Hernndez del Cerro, M., Peters, D.M., and Garcia-Pardo,A. The heparin III binding domain of fibronectin (III4-5 repeats) binds to fibronectin and inhibits fibronectin matrix assembly. Matrix Biol. 26:642-651. 2007