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: 
Characterization of the PEGylated Functional Upstream Domain Peptide (PEG-FUD): a Potent Fibronectin Assembly Inhibitor with Potential as an Anti-Fibrotic Therapeutic.Zbyszynski P, Tomasini-Johansson BR, Peters DM, Kwon GS.Pharm Res. 2018Apr 24;35(7):126. doi: 10.1007/s11095-018-2412-7.PMID: 29691664
Consensus recommendations for trabecular meshwork cell isolation, characterization and culture.Keller KE, Bhattacharya SK, Borrás T, Brunner TM, Chansangpetch S, Clark AF, Dismuke WM, Du Y, Elliott MH, Ethier CR, Faralli JA, Freddo TF, Fuchshofer R, Giovingo M, Gong H, Gonzalez P, Huang A, Johnstone MA, Kaufman PL, Kelley MJ, Knepper PA, Kopczynski CC, Kuchtey JG, Kuchtey RW, Kuehn MH, Lieberman RL, Lin SC, Liton P, Liu Y, Lütjen-Drecoll E,Mao W, Masis-Solano M, McDonnell F, McDowell CM, Overby DR, Pattabiraman PP, Raghunathan VK, Rao PV, Rhee DJ, Chowdhury UR, Russell P, Samples JR, Schwartz D, Stubbs EB, Tamm ER, Tan JC, Toris CB, Torrejon KY, Vranka JA, Wirtz MK, Yorio T, Zhang J, Zode GS, Fautsch MP, Peters DM, Acott TS, Stamer WD.Exp Eye Res. 2018 Jun;171:164-173. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2018.03.001. Epub 2018 Mar 9.PMID: 29526795
Absence of a secondary glucocorticoid response in C57BL/6J mice treated with topical dexamethasone.Faralli JA, Dimeo KD, Trane RM, Peters D.PLoS One. 2018 Mar 2;13(3):e0192665. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192665. eCollection 2018.PMID: 29499052
Disruption of fibronectin matrix affects type IV collagen, fibrillin and laminin deposition into extracellular matrix of human trabecular meshwork (HTM) cells.Filla MS, Dimeo KD, Tong T, Peters DM.Exp Eye Res. 2017 Dec;165:7-19. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2017.08.017. Epub 2017 Aug 30.PMID: 28860021
Involvement of Tiam1, RhoG and ELMO2/ILK in Rac1-mediated phagocytosis in human trabecular meshwork cells.Peotter JL, Phillips J, Tong T, Dimeo K, Gonzalez JM Jr, Peters DM.Exp Cell Res. 2016 Oct 1;347(2):301-11. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2016.08.009. Epub 2016 Aug 15.PMID: 27539661
The role of integrins in glaucoma. Filla MS, Faralli JA, Peotter JL, Peters DM.Exp Eye Res. 2017 May;158:124-136. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2016.05.011. Epub 2016 May 13. Review.PMID: 27185161
Glaucomatous MYOC mutations activate the IL-1/NF-κB inflammatory stress response and the glaucoma marker SELE in trabecular meshwork cells.Itakura T, Peters DM, Fini ME.Mol Vis. 2015 Sep 17;21:1071-84. eCollection 2015.PMID: 26396484
Viral Vector Effects on Exoenzyme C3 Transferase-Mediated Actin Disruption and on Outflow Facility.Slauson SR, Peters DM, Schwinn MK, Kaufman PL, Gabelt BT, Brandt CR.Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015 Apr;56(4):2431-8. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-15909.PMID: 25783606
NFATc1 activity regulates the expression of myocilin induced by dexamethasone.Faralli JA, Clark RW, Filla MS, Peters DM.Exp Eye Res. 2015 Jan;130:9-16. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2014.11.009. Epub 2014 Nov 18.PMID: 25450062
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.Filla MS, Clark R, Peters DM.Exp Cell Res. 2014 Oct 1;327(2):171-82. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2014.07.035. Epub 2014 Aug 13.PMID: 25128150