Manganese regulation research named an NIEHS Paper of the Year

Somshuvra Mukhopadhyay, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.

Somshuvra Mukhopadhyay, M.B.B.S., Ph.D. assistant professor in the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, led research focused on how brain manganese is regulated by activity of the gene SLC30A10 in the digestive system. The research was supported by grant funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Dr. Mukhopadhyay. The NIEHS named it one of 2019’s Papers of the Year. It had previously named it as one of March 2019’s Papers of the Month.

The research, titled “SLC30A10 transporter in the digestive system regulates brain manganese under basal conditions while brain SLC30A10 protects against neurotoxicity,” was performed by Dr. Mukhopadhyay’s group at UT Austin with important contributions from the lab of Donald Smith, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The researchers showed that brain manganese is regulated by activity of the gene SLC30A10 in the digestive system. This finding provides a novel mechanism for how manganese levels are normally regulated and suggests that changes to SLC30A10 activity in the digestive system may affect neurological outcomes from manganese exposure.

The Mukhopadhyay Lab focuses on understanding cell biology of human disease. Its two major research projects involve parkinsonism and metal homeostasis, and intracellular trafficking of Shiga and related bacterial toxins. This research paper focuses primarily on the first research project. Metals, such as iron, manganese, and copper, are essential for life, but become toxic at elevated levels and cause severe neurological diseases, such as parkinsonism.

For more information on the paper’s findings, see a previous article about Dr. Mukhopadhyay’s work.