Jean M Wilson, PhD

Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Cancer Biology - GIDP
Professor, Neuroscience - GIDP
Director, Willed Body Program
Email Address: 
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-2557
(520) 626-2097

UACC Information

Professional Bio: 

Dr. Wilson is a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, a member of the Bio5 Institute and is affiliated with the Cancer Biology and Neuroscience Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs. The research in Dr. Wilson's laboratory focuses on membrane trafficking in polarized cells, with an emphasis on how functional membrane domains are generated and maintained. As a graduate student, she performed transmission electron microscopic studies of transepithelial transport across the yolk sac. These studies led naturally to post-doctoral studies of endosomal structure in the intestine. This interest has continued, and she has investigated various aspects of endocytosis, recycling, and degradation of membrane proteins in epithelial cells and neurons.

Using morphological, biochemical, and molecular biological approaches, Dr. Wilson has led studies into the mechanisms of biogenesis and targeting of endosomal proteins, polarized targeting of apical proteins, and trafficking of tight junction proteins. The role of membrane trafficking in the establishment and maintenance of epithelial polarity is an area that she finds particularly fascinating. Loss of polarity is a hallmark of cancer, and current paradigms suggest that loss of polarity may be an early event in the transformation process.

Dr. Wilson's laboratory has extensive experience with the culture, manipulation, transfection, and imaging of mammalian cells. They use these approaches to define how membrane trafficking regulates morphogenesis, signaling, and fate in normal cells and how changes in these pathways could lead to cancer.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Biology
Member Status: 
Research Member
Selected Publications: 

Dr. Wilson's NCBI bibliography

  1. Wilson, J.M., J.A. Whitney, and M.R. Neutra. 1987. Identification of an endosomal antigen specific to absorptive cells of suckling rat ileum. J. Cell Biol. 105:691-703.
  2. Speelman B.A., K.A. Allen, M.R. Neutra, T. Kirchhausen, and J.M Wilson. 1995. Molecular characterization of an early endosomal glycoprotein found in developing rat intestine. J. Biol. Chem. 270:1583-1588.
  3. Wilson, J.M. and T.L. Colton. 1997. Targeting of an intestinal apical endosomal protein to endosomes in non-polarized cells. J. Cell Biol. 136:319-330.
  4. Hernandez-Deviez, D., J.E. Casanova, and J.M. Wilson. 2002. Regulation of dendritic development by the ARF exchange factor ARNO. Nature Neurosci. 5:623-624.
  5. Hernandez-Deviez, D., J.E. Casanova, Roth, M.G., and J. M. Wilson. 2004. ARNO and ARF6 regulate axonal elongation and branching through phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate 5-kinase a. Mol. Biol. Cell 15:111-21.
  6. Kitt, K.N., D. Hernandez-Deviez, S. McCarter, E. Spiliotis, J.E. Casanova, and J.M. Wilson. 2008. The small GTPase Rab 14 regulates apical targeting. Traffic 9:1218-1231
  7. McCarter, S., D. Johnson, K.N. Kitt, C. Donohue, A.E. Adams and J.M. Wilson. 2010. Regulation of tight junction assembly and epithelial polarity by a resident protein of apical         endosomes. Traffic 11:856-866
  8. Parker, S.S., E.K. Mandell, S.M. Hapak, I.Y. Maskaykina,Y. Kusne, J.Y. Kim, J.K. Moy, P.A. St. John,   J.M. Wilson, K.M. Gothard, T.J. Price, S. Ghosh. 2013. Competing interactions of PKMζ          and aPKCλ with the Par complex regulates polarity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110:14450-5. PMCID:PMC3761571
  9. Lu, R., D.L. Johnson, L. Stewart, K. Waite, and J.M. Wilson. 2014. Rab14 regulates epithelial lumen morphogenesis through regulation of claudin-2 trafficking. Mol Biol Cell 25:1744-54 PMCID: PMC4038501
  10. Lu, R, D. Dalgalan, E.K. Mandell, S.S. Parker, S. Ghosh and J.M. Wilson. 2015. PKCi interacts with Rab14 and regulates epithelial barrier function through regulation of claudin-2 levels. Mol Biol Cell. 26(8):1523-31. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E14-12-1613. PMID:25694446
  11. Cox, C.M., Mandell, E.K., Stewart, L., Lu, R., Johnson, D.L., McCarter, S.D., Tavares, A., Runyan, R., Ghosh, S., Wilson, J.M. 2015. Endosomal regulation of contact inhibition through the AMOT:YAP pathway. Mol Biol Cell 26:2673-84. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E15-04-0224 PMID:25995376
Collaborative Research: 
5R01 DK084047-05      (Wilson, PI)                                                                                               07/01/11-06/30/16
Regulation of Intestinal Tight Junction Structure by Membrane Traffic                     
This funding provides support for our studies on the role of the endosomal protein endotubin and the small GTPase Rab14 in the establishment and maintenance of epithelial tight junctions.  We are examining the role of polarized membrane traffic in tight junction integrity and how these events control epithelial permeability and barrier integrity.

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 
2003-present    Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
1997-2003       Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
1990-1997       Assistant Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
2014                 Outstanding Achievement in Teaching by a Block, Year II (Contributing faculty)
2000                 Furrow Award for Excellence in Graduate Education Teaching
1999                 University of Queensland Visiting Scholar Travel Award
Other Experience and Professional Memberships/Affiliations: 
2012-present    Member, GMPB NIH study section
2009-present    Member, Bio5 Research Institute
2006-present    Member, Arizona Cancer Center
2005-2008        Member, MBPP NIH study section
2002-present    Member, Committee on Neuroscience
2001-present    Member, Cancer Biology Graduate Interdisciplinary Program
1985-present    Member, American Society for Cell Biology

Academic Information

Post Doctoral: 
Harvard Medical School, and Instit. de Biochemie, Univ. Lausanne, Switzerland
Anatomy, University of California, Davis
Undergraduate School: 
Biology, University of California, Riverside