Dailey Lab Group

ScientistHeme is a key and essential compound for the vast majority of living organisms. It is required not just for well recognized functions such as oxygen transport by hemo- and myoglobin and energy generation via respiratory chain cytochromes, but is also essential for drug and hormone metabolism by cytochrome P450s, fatty acid desaturation, and erythroid protein synthesis. Heme in neuroglobins has been proposed to play a protective role in hypoxia/ischemic injury. More recently a clear role for heme in a wide variety of transcription factors such as Bach1, NPAS2, SREBP and others as a sensor molecule that regulates gene expression has been identified. In addition, dietary heme serves as a significant source of iron for many organisms including pathogenic bacteria. With very few exceptions, organisms that utilize heme synthesize it with their own cellular machinery.

The Dailey lab's research focuses on the enzymes responsible for heme biosynthesis. Current studies involve structure/function investigations of the terminal enzymes of heme biosynthesis and their relationship to the human genetic diseases known as porphyrias, biochemical characterization of the enzymes from both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms, identification and characterization of novel and previously unidentified genes involved in heme synthesis and transport, and regulation of expression and tranlocation of heme synthetic enzymes.