Mary Wilson, MD
Dept. of Internal Medicine
Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology
Dept. of Epidemiology
Welcome to the Wilson Lab
Dr. Wilson's research studies address the molecular, cellular and immunobiology of infection with the Leishmania species protozoa. Human infection with these parasites leads to a wide spectrum of clinical syndromes. Both human immunogenetic and parasite-encoded virulence factors lead to divergent disease manifestations. Dr. Wilson’s studies focus on the contributions of both host and parasite molecular characteristics that determine the outcome of leishmaniasis.
Leishmania are spread through the bite of a sand fly vector, and reside intracellularly in macrophages in human or other mammalian hosts. The parasite causes dramatic changes in gene expression in the host phagocyte, and lab members are investigating host mRNAs, host microRNAs and the parasite encoded virulence molecules underlying these changes. Other projects utilize both murine models and cultured human cells to address the contributions of macrophages, monocyte subsets, neutrophils, dendritic cells and keratinocytes to the local immune responses. The group hypothesizes that Leishmania manipulate the local immune response through the release of exosomes containing virulence-related proteins into the host environment. Techniques of protein chemistry, mass spectrometry, confocal microscopy, gene knockout/transgenic parasites and in vivo imaging of luminescent or fluorescent parasites are used to address these goals.
Dr. Wilson also participates in two Tropical Medicine Research Centers that fund collaborative field studies in India and Brazil. The Wilson lab works toward application of molecular techniques to understand both human genetic and molecular parasitic determinants leading to the diverse forms of human leishmaniasis. Genotyping of subjects in large family studies in India and Brazil has revealed several immune-related genes potentially associated with the outcome of visceral leishmaniasis. Studies of parasite genomes, and polymorphisms within genomes, are revealing contributions of the parasite strain to pathologic changes observed in leishmaniasis.
Selected Recent Publications
An Anti-Inflammatory Role for NLRP10 in Murine Cutaneous Leishmaniasis. Clay GM, Valadares DG, Graff JW, Ulland TK, Davis RE, Scorza BM, Zhanbolat BS, Chen Y, Sutterwala FS, Wilson ME. J Immunol. 2017 Oct 15;199(8):2823-2833. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1500832. Epub 2017 Sep 20.
CD11a and CD49d enhance the detection of antigen-specific T cells following human vaccination. Christiaansen AF, Dixit UG, Coler RN, Marie Beckmann A, Reed SG, Winokur PL, Zimmerman MB, Varga SM, Wilson ME. Vaccine. 2017 Jul 24;35(33):4255-4261. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.06.013. Epub 2017 Jun 27.
Differential Activation of Human Keratinocytes by Leishmania Species Causing Localized or Disseminated Disease. Scorza BM, Wacker MA, Messingham K, Kim P, Klingelhutz A, Fairley J, Wilson ME. J Invest Dermatol. 2017 Oct;137(10):2149-2156. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2017.05.028. Epub 2017 Jun 22.
Cutaneous Manifestations of Human and Murine Leishmaniasis. Scorza BM, Carvalho EM, Wilson ME. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Jun 18;18(6). pii: E1296. doi: 10.3390/ijms18061296. Review
Lipid bodies accumulation in Leishmania infantum-infected C57BL/6 macrophages. Rodríguez NE, Lockard RD, Turcotte EA, Araújo-Santos T, Bozza PT, Borges VM, Wilson ME. Parasite Immunol. 2017 Aug;39(8). doi: 10.1111/pim.12443. Epub 2017 Jun 16.
The Gut Microbiome of the Vector Lutzomyia longipalpis Is Essential for Survival of Leishmania infantum. Kelly PH, Bahr SM, Serafim TD, Ajami NJ, Petrosino JF, Meneses C, Kirby JR, Valenzuela JG, Kamhawi S, Wilson ME. MBio. 2017 Jan 17;8(1). pii: e01121-16. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01121-16.
Phenotypic and functional characteristics of HLA-DR+ neutrophils in Brazilians with cutaneous leishmaniasis. Davis RE, Sharma S, Conceição J, Carneiro P, Novais F, Scott P, Sundar S, Bacellar O, Carvalho EM, Wilson ME. J Leukoc Biol. 2017 Mar;101(3):739-749. doi: 10.1189/jlb.4A0915-442RR. Epub 2016 Oct 17.
Comprehensive candidate gene analysis for symptomatic or asymptomatic outcomes of Leishmania infantum infection in Brazil. Weirather JL, Duggal P, Nascimento EL, Monteiro GR, Martins DR, Lacerda HG, Fakiola M, Blackwell JM, Jeronimo SM, Wilson ME. Ann Hum Genet. 2017 Jan;81(1):41-48. doi: 10.1111/ahg.12180. Epub 2017 Jan 4.