Courey, Albert J.
Systems Biology and Biological Regulation
Aging and Development
Molecular Biology Institute, JCCC Gene Regulation Program Area, ACCESS Program, Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Boyer Hall 301A
Boyer Hall, Room 305 and 319
Dr. Courey received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Oberlin College in 1979, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard University in 1986. He carried out postdoctoral research in biochemistry at U.C. Berkeley from 1986-1989 and joined the UCLA faculty in 1990.
Dr. Courey, who is from Buffalo, New York, joined the UCLA faculty in 1990 and was promoted to full professor in 1999. He has served the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as Graduate Advisor (2003-2005), Vice Chair for Education (2001-2005), and Chair (2008-2012). He also serves on the Advisory Committee of the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Program and is one of the founders of the Gene Regulation Interdepartmental Program. Dr. Courey has instructed a course at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in Protein Purification and Characterization every spring since 1996. His lab uses Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism to study transcriptional control mechanisms as well as the cell and developmental biology of SUMO, a ubiquitin-family protein. Dr. Courey has authored a textbook entitled Mechanisms in Transcriptional Regulation (Blackwell Publishing Company). He is an avid pianist and holds a Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.
Overview- The Molecular Basis of Development
During embryogenesis, a cluster of apparently undifferentiated cells is transformed into an ordered array of differentiated tissues. Using Drosophila as a model system, my research group combines biochemical and genetic approaches to study the molecular basis of this amazing transformation. Essentially all the regulatory circuits we study are conserved throughout the animal kingdom. Therefore, our studies have important implications for human health and development.
The following two major projects are currently underway in the lab.
Spatial and temporal regulation of transcription in development. We have been extensively examining mechanisms of activation and repression by the Dorsal morphogen, a transcription factor that determines the dorsal/ventral axis during early development. This factor is the Drosophila homolog of the vertebrate regulatory protein NF-kB. Like Dorsal, NF-kB is involved in both the determination of embryonic polarity and in the innate immune response. Furthermore, both Dorsal and NF-kB are regulated by homologous signal transduction cascades that control transcription factor activity by regulating nuclear import.
Role of Sumo-conjugation in development. Sumo is a recently discovered member of the ubiquitin family that is conserved throughout all eukaryotes. This polypeptide is a substrate for a protein conjugation system, in which Sumo becomes covalently attached to numerous target proteins modifying their behavior in various ways. We are attempting to learn about the roles of Sumo in cell biology and development. Our analysis has revealed possible roles for this process in regulated nuclear import, embryonic pattern formation, the immune response, and the stress response.
Drosophila and human development are homologous processes. They utilize closely related genes working in highly conserved regulatory networks. Unlike humans, Drosophila is subject to easy genetic manipulation. As a result, most of what we know about the molecular basis of animal development has come from studies of model systems such as Drosophila.
Honors & Awards
- Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award
- Hanson-Dow Teaching Award
- Searle Scholars Award
- American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow
- Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship
- Signaling Cascades, Gradients, and the Gene Networks in Dorsal/Ventral Patterning. Ratnaparkhi, G.S. and Courey, A.J. (2014) In Principles of Developmental Genetics Second Edition S. Moody (Ed.) Elsevier Press, pp. 216-240.
- SUMO as a Solubility Tag and In Vivo Cleavage of SUMO Fusion Proteins with Ulp1 In Protein Affinity Tags: Methods and Protocols Kuo, D., Nie, M., and Courey, A.J. (2014) R.J. Giannone and A. B. Dykstra (Eds.) Humana Press. Methods in Molecular Biology Series Vol. 1177, 71-80.
- Groucho: A Corepressor with Instructive Roles in Development Turki-Judeh, W. and Courey, A.J. (2012) Curr Top Dev Biol. ; 98:65-96.
- The Unconserved Groucho Central Region is Essential for Viability and Modulates Target Gene Specificity Turki-Judeh, W. and Courey, A.J. (2012) PLoS One ; 7(2):e30610.
- SUMOylation in drosophila development Smith,M., Turki-Judeh, W., Courey,A.J. (2012) Biomolecules ; 25:2(3):331-49.
- Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier (SUMO) Conjugation Impedes Transcriptional Silencing by the Polycomb Group Repressor Sex Comb on Midleg Smith, M., Mallin, D.R., Simon, J.A., Courey, A.J. (2011) J Biol Chem. Apr 1; 286(13):11391-400.
- A Sumo-groucho Q domain fusion protein: characterization and in vivo ulp1-mediated cleavage. Kuo, D., Nie, M., De Hoff, P., Chambers, M., Phillips, M., Hirsch, A.M., Courey A.J. (2011) Protein Expression and Purification ,Mar; 76(1):65-71.
- Groucho-mediated repression may result from a histone deacetylase-dependent increase in nucleosome density. Winkler, C.J., Ponce, A., Courey, A.J. (2010) PloS One ; 5(4): e10166.
- Genetic and proteomic evidence for roles of Drosophila SUMO in cell cycle control, Ras signaling, and early pattern formation. Nie, M., Xiek, Y., Loo, J.A., Courey, A.J. (2009) PloS One ;4(6): e5905.
- Dorsal interacting protein 3 potentiates activation by Drosophila Rel homology domain proteins. Ratnaparkhi, G.S., Duong, H.A., Courey, A.J. (2008) Developmental and Comparative Immunology ; 32(11): 1290-300.
- Non-cell-autonomous inhibition of photoreceptor development by Dip3. Duong, H.A., Nagaraj, R., Wang, C.W., Ratnaparkhi, G., Sun, Y.H., Courey, A.J. (2008) Developmental Biology ; 323(1): 105-13.
- Transformation of eye to antenna by misexpression of a single gene. Duong, H.A., Wang, C.W., Sun, Y.H., Courey, A.J. (2008) Mechanisms of Development ; 125(1-2): 130-41.
- Mae inhibits Pointed-P2 transcriptional activity by blocking its MAPK docking site. Qiao,F., Harada, B., Song, H., Whitelegge, J., Courey, A.J. , Bowie, J.U. (2006) The EMBO Journal ;25(1): 70-9.
- Uncoupling dorsal-mediated activation from dorsal-mediated repression in the Drosophila embryo. Ratnaparkhi,G.S., Jia, S., Courey, A.J. (2006) Development (Cambridge, England); 133(22): 4409-14.
- Antagonistic regulation of Yan nuclear export by Mae and Crm1 may increase the stringency of the Ras response. Song,H., Nie, M., Qiao, F., Bowie, J.U., Courey, A.J. (2005) Genes & Development ;19(15): 1767-72.
- SUMO enhances vestigial function during wing morphogenesis. Takanaka,Y., Courey, A.J. (2005) Mechanisms of Development ;122(10): 1130-7.
- Derepression by depolymerization; structural insights into the regulation of Yan by Mae. Qiao, F., Song, H., Kim, C.A., Sawaya, M.R., Hunter, J.B., Gingery, M., Rebay, I., Courey, A.J., Bowie,J.U. (2004) Cell ;118(2): 163-73.
- Drosophila Ulp1, a nuclear pore-associated SUMO protease, prevents accumulation of cytoplasmic SUMO conjugates. Smith,M., Bhaskar, V., Fernandez, J., Courey, A.J. (2004) The Journal of Biological Chemistry ;279(42): 43805-14.
- Groucho oligomerization is required for repression in vivo. Song,H., Hasson, P., Paroush, Z., Courey, A.J. (2004) Molecular and Cellular Biology ;24(10): 4341-50.
- Conjugation of Smt3 to dorsal may potentiate the Drosophila immune response. Bhaskar,V., Smith, M., Courey, A.J. (2002) Molecular and Cellular Biology ;22(2): 492-504.
- The Dorsal Rel homology domain plays an active role in transcriptional regulation. Songtao,J., Flores-Saaib, R.D., Courey, A.J. (2002) Molecular and Cellular Biology ;22(14): 5089-99.
- Activation and repression by the C-terminal domain of Dorsal. Flores-Saaib,R.D., Jia, S., Courey, A.J. (2001) Development (Cambridge, England); 128(10): 1869-79.
- A functional interaction between dorsal and components of the Smt3 conjugation machinery Bhaskar,V., Valentine, S.A., Courey, A.J. (2000) J Biol Chem ; 275(6): 4033-40.
- Analysis of Groucho-histone interactions suggests mechanistic similarities between Groucho- and Tup1-mediated repression Flores-Saaib,R.D., Courey, A.J. (2000) Nucleic Acids Res ; 28(21):4189-96.
- Regulation of dorso/ventral patterning in the Drosophila embryo by multiple dorsal-interacting proteins Flores-Saaib,R.D., Courey, A.J. (2000) Cell Biochem Biophys ;33(1): 1-17.
- A functional interaction between the histone deacetylase Rpd3 and the corepressor groucho in Drosophila development Chen,G., Fernandez, J., Mische, S., Courey, A.J. (1999) Genes Dev ;13(17): 2218-30.
- Baculovirus-transfer vector for eukaryotic expression and immunoaffinity purification of Gal4-fusion proteins Chen,G., Courey, A.J. (1999) Biotechniques ;26(5): 808-10, 812, 814.
- A role for Groucho tetramerization in transcriptional repression. Chen, G., Nguyen, P.H., Courey, A.J. (1998) Molecular and Cellular Biology ;18(12): 7259-68.
- Dorsal-mediated repression requires the formation of a multiprotein repression complex at the ventral silencer Valentine, S. A., Chen, G., Shandala, T., Fernandez, J., Mische, S., Saint, R., Courey, A. J. (1998) Mol Cell Biol ;18(11): 6584-94.
- A direct contact between the dorsal rel homology domain and Twist may mediate transcriptional synergy Shirokawa,J. M., Courey, A.J. (1997) Mol Cell Biol ; 17(6):3345-55.
- Binding sites for transcription factor NTF-1/Elf-1 contribute to the ventral repression of decapentaplegic Huang, J. D. Dubnicoff, T. Liaw, G. J. Bai, Y. Valentine, S. A. Shirokawa, J. M. Lengyel, J. A. Courey, A. J. (1995) Genes Dev ;9(24): 3177-89.
- The establishment and interpretation of transcription factor gradients in the Drosophila embryo Courey, A. J. Huang,J. D. (1995) Biochim Biophys Acta ;1261(1): 1-18.
- The bipartite D. melanogaster twist promoter is reorganized in D. virilis Pan, D. Valentine, S. A. Courey,A. J. (1994) Mech Dev ;46(1): 41-53.
- The interplay between multiple enhancer and silencer elements defines the pattern of decapentaplegic expression Huang, J. D. Schwyter, D. H. Shirokawa, J. M., Courey, A. J. (1993) Genes Dev ;7(4): 694-704.
- The same dorsal binding site mediates both activation and repression in a context-dependent manner Pan, D. Courey, A. J. (1992) Embo J ;11(5): 1837-42.
- Functional analysis of the Drosophila twist promoter reveals a dorsal-binding ventral activator region Pan, D. J. Huang, J. D., Courey, A. J. (1991) Genes Dev ;5(10): 1892-901.
- Mechanisms in Transcriptional Regulation Wiley-Blackwell Publishers. Courey, A.J. (2008)