C J Danpure

University College London, Londinium, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (126)761.56 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxine (PN) is one of the most widespread pharmacological therapies for inherited diseases involving pyridoxal phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzymes, including primary hyperoxaluria type I (PH1). PH1 is caused by a deficiency of liver-peroxisomal alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT), which allows glyoxylate oxidation to oxalate leading to the deposition of insoluble calcium oxalate in the kidney. Only a minority of PH1 patients, mostly bearing the F152I and the G170R mutations, respond to PN, the only pharmacological treatment currently available. Moreover, excessive doses of PN reduce the specific activity of AGT in a cellular PH1-model. Nevertheless, the possible effect(s) of other B6 vitamers have not been investigated previously. Here we compared the ability of PN in rescuing the effects of the F152I and G170R mutations with that of pyridoxamine (PM) and pyridoxal (PL). We found that supplementation with PN raises the intracellular concentration of pyridoxine phosphate (PNP), which competes with PLP for apoenzyme binding leading to the formation of an inactive AGT-PNP complex. In contrast, PNP does not accumulate in the cell upon PM or PL supplementation, but higher levels of PLP and pyridoxamine phosphate (PMP), the two active forms of the AGT coenzyme, are found. This leads to an increased ability of PM and PL to rescue the effects of the F152I and G170R mutations compared to PN. A similar effect was also observed for other folding-defective AGT variants. Thus, PM and PL should be investigated as matter of importance as therapeutics for PH1-patients bearing folding mutations. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Human Molecular Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Primary hyperoxaluria is a severe disease for which the best current therapy is dialysis or organ transplantation. These are risky, inconvenient, and costly procedures. In some patients, pyridoxine treatment can delay the need for these surgical procedures. The underlying cause of particular forms of this disease is the misrouting of a specific enzyme, alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT), to the mitochondria instead of the peroxisomes. Pharmacoperones are small molecules that can rescue misfolded proteins and redirect them to their correct location, thereby restoring their function and potentially curing disease. In the present study, we miniaturized a cell-based assay to identify pharmacoperone drugs present in large chemical libraries to selectively correct AGT misrouting. This assay employs AGT-170, a mutant form of AGT that predominantly resides in the mitochondria, which we monitor for its relocation to the peroxisomes through automated image acquisition and analysis. Over the course of a pilot screen of 1,280 test compounds, we achieved an average Z'-factor of 0.72±0.02, demonstrating the suitability of this assay for HTS.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Assay and Drug Development Technologies
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    ABSTRACT: Primary hyperoxaluria 1 (PH1; Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man no. 259900), a typically lethal biochemical disorder, may be caused by the AGT(P11LG170R) allele in which the alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT) enzyme is mistargeted from peroxisomes to mitochondria. AGT contains a C-terminal peroxisomal targeting sequence, but mutations generate an N-terminal mitochondrial targeting sequence that directs AGT from peroxisomes to mitochondria. Although AGT(P11LG170R) is functional, the enzyme must be in the peroxisome to detoxify glyoxylate by conversion to alanine; in disease, amassed glyoxylate in the peroxisome is transported to the cytosol and converted to oxalate by lactate dehydrogenase, leading to kidney failure. From a chemical genetic screen, we have identified small molecules that inhibit mitochondrial protein import. We tested whether one promising candidate, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved dequalinium chloride (DECA), could restore proper peroxisomal trafficking of AGT(P11LG170R). Indeed, treatment with DECA inhibited AGT(P11LG170R) translocation into mitochondria and subsequently restored trafficking to peroxisomes. Previous studies have suggested that a mitochondrial uncoupler might work in a similar manner. Although the uncoupler carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone inhibited AGT(P11LG170R) import into mitochondria, AGT(P11LG170R) aggregated in the cytosol, and cells subsequently died. In a cellular model system that recapitulated oxalate accumulation, exposure to DECA reduced oxalate accumulation, similar to pyridoxine treatment that works in a small subset of PH1 patients. Moreover, treatment with both DECA and pyridoxine was additive in reducing oxalate levels. Thus, repurposing the FDA-approved DECA may be a pharmacologic strategy to treat PH1 patients with mutations in AGT because an additional 75 missense mutations in AGT may also result in mistrafficking.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    Sonia Fargue · Gill Rumsby · Christopher J Danpure
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    ABSTRACT: Primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1) is a rare hereditary calcium oxalate kidney stone disease caused by a deficiency of the liver-specific pyridoxal-phosphate-dependent peroxisomal enzyme alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT). About one third of patients are responsive to pharmacological doses of pyridoxine (vitamin B6), but its mechanism of action is unknown. Using stably transformed CHO cells expressing various normal and mutant forms of AGT, we have shown that pyridoxine increases the net expression, catalytic activity and peroxisomal import of the most common mistargeted mutant form of AGT (i.e. Gly170Arg on the background of the polymorphic minor allele). These multiple effects explain for the first time the action of pyridoxine in the most common group of responsive patients. Partial effects of pyridoxine were also observed for two other common AGT mutants on the minor allele (i.e. Phe152Ile and Ile244Thr) but not for the minor allele mutant AGT containing a Gly41Arg replacement. These findings demonstrate that pyridoxine, which is metabolised to pyridoxal phosphate, the essential cofactor of AGT, achieves its effects both as a prosthetic group (increasing enzyme catalytic activity) and a chemical chaperone (increasing peroxisome targeting and net expression). This new understanding should aid the development of pharmacological treatments that attempt to enhance efficacy of pyridoxine in PH1, as well as encouraging a re-evaluation of the extent of pyridoxine responsiveness in PH1, as more patients than previously thought might benefit from such treatment.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
  • Sonia Fargue · Jackie Lewin · Gill Rumsby · Christopher J Danpure
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    ABSTRACT: The gene encoding the liver-specific peroxisomal enzyme alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT, EC. exists as two common polymorphic variants termed the major and minor alleles. The Pro11Leu amino acid replacement encoded by the minor allele creates a hidden N-terminal mitochondrial targeting sequence (MTS), the unmasking of which occurs in the hereditary calcium oxalate kidney stone disease primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1). This unmasking is due to the additional presence of a common disease-specific Gly170Arg mutation which is encoded by about one third of PH1 alleles. The Pro11Leu and Gly170Arg replacements interact synergistically to reroute AGT to the mitochondria where it cannot fulfil its metabolic role (i.e. glyoxylate detoxification) effectively. In the present study we have re-investigated the consequences of the interaction between Pro11Leu and Gly170Arg in stably transformed CHO cells, and have studied for the first time whether a similar synergism exists between Pro11Leu and three other mutations that segregate with the minor allele (i.e. Ile244Thr, Phe152Ile and Gly41Arg). Our investigations show that the latter three mutants are all able to unmask the cryptic Pro11Leu-generated MTS and as a result, all are mistargeted to the mitochondria. However, whereas the Gly170Arg, Ile244Thr and Phe152Ile mutants are able to form dimers and are catalytically active, the Gly41Arg mutant aggregates and is inactive. These studies open up the possibility that all PH1 mutations, which segregate with the minor allele, might also lead to the peroxisome-to-mitochondrion mistargeting of AGT, a suggestion which has important implications for the development of treatment strategies for PH1.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Primary hyperoxaluria Type 1 is a rare autosomal recessive inborn error of glyoxylate metabolism, caused by a deficiency of the liver-specific enzyme alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase. The disorder results in overproduction and excessive urinary excretion of oxalate, causing recurrent urolithiasis and nephrocalcinosis. As glomerular filtration rate declines due to progressive renal involvement, oxalate accumulates leading to systemic oxalosis. The diagnosis is based on clinical and sonographic findings, urine oxalate assessment, enzymology and/or DNA analysis. Early initiation of conservative treatment (high fluid intake, pyridoxine, inhibitors of calcium oxalate crystallization) aims at maintaining renal function. In chronic kidney disease Stages 4 and 5, the best outcomes to date were achieved with combined liver-kidney transplantation.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation
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    ABSTRACT: Alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT) is a pyridoxal-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzyme. Its deficiency causes the hereditary kidney stone disease primary hyperoxaluria type 1. AGT is a highly stable compact dimer and the first 21 residues of each subunit form an extension which wraps over the surface of the neighboring subunit. Naturally occurring and artificial amino acid replacements in this extension create changes in the functional properties of AGT in mammalian cells, including relocation of the enzyme from peroxisomes to mitochondria. In order to elucidate the structural and functional role of this N-terminal extension, we have analyzed the consequences of its removal using a variety of biochemical and cell biological methods. When expressed in Escherichia coli, the N-terminal deleted form of AGT showed the presence of the protein but in an insoluble form resulting in only a 10% soluble yield as compared to the full-length version. The purified soluble fraction showed reduced affinity for PLP and greatly reduced catalytic activity. Although maintaining a dimer form, it was highly prone to self-aggregation. When expressed in a mammalian cell line, the truncated construct was normally targeted to peroxisomes, where it formed large stable but catalytically inactive aggregates. These results suggest that the N-terminal extension plays an essential role in allowing AGT to attain its correct conformation and functional activity. The precise mechanism of this effect is still under investigation.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology
  • Christopher J. Danpure
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    ABSTRACT: The primary hyperoxalurias are a group of rare hereditary calcium oxalate kidney stone diseases, the best characterized of which are primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1) and type 2 (PH2). Deficiencies of alanine: glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT) in PH1 and glyoxylate/hydroxypyruvate reductase (GR/HPR) in PH2 lead to the increased synthesis and excretion of the metabolic end product, oxalate. Insoluble calcium oxalate crystallizes out in the kidney and urinary tract, leading to kidney dysfunction and eventually complete organ failure. More than 100 mutations have been found in PH1, but less than 20 in PH2. The crystal structures of both AGT and GR/HPR have been solved, enabling rationalization of the untoward effects of at least some of the mutations, as well as how in PH1 some of the mutations interact synergistically with the common Pro11Leu polymorphism. A wide variety of enzyme phenotypes are found in PH1, but perhaps the most spectacular is the unparalleled peroxisome-to- mitochondrion AGT mistargeting caused by a combination of the Pro11Leu polymorphism and Gly170Arg mutation. Although remaining catalytically active in this location, mitochondrial AGT is metabolically ineffective. Classic stone treatments, such as hydration and crystallization inhibitors, are applicable to PH1 and PH2. However, some treatments such as pyridoxine therapy and liver transplantation (enzyme replacement therapy) are restricted to PH1.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2011
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    Snezana Djordjevic · Xiaoxuan Zhang · Mark Bartlam · Sheng Ye · Zihe Rao · Christopher J Danpure
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    ABSTRACT: In a subset of patients with the hereditary kidney-stone disease primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1), the liver-specific enzyme alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT) is mistargeted from peroxisomes to mitochondria. This is a consequence of the combined presence of the common P11L polymorphism and a disease-specific G170R mutation. In this paper, the crystal structure of mutant human AGT containing the G170R replacement determined at a resolution of 2.6 A is reported. The crystal structure of AGT consists of an intimate dimer in which an extended N-terminal segment of 21 amino acids from one subunit wraps as an elongated irregular coil around the outside of the crystallographic symmetry-related subunit. In addition to the N-terminal segment, the monomer structure contains a large domain of 261 amino acids and a small C-terminal domain of 110 amino acids. Comparison of the mutant AGT structure and that of wild-type normal AGT shows that the two structures are almost identical, with a backbone-atom r.m.s. deviation of 0.34 A. However, evidence of significant local structural changes in the vicinity of the G170R mutation might be linked to the apparent decrease in protein stability.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2010 · Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications
  • C.J. Danpure

    No preview · Article · Jan 2010
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    Christopher J. Danpure · Gill Rumsby

    Preview · Article · Sep 2007 · Urological Research
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    Christopher J Danpure
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    ABSTRACT: Primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1) is an atypical peroxisomal disorder, as befits a deficiency of alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT), which is itself an atypical peroxisomal enzyme. PH1 is characterized by excessive synthesis and excretion of the metabolic end-product oxalate and the progressive accumulation of insoluble calcium oxalate in the kidney and urinary tract. Disease in many patients is caused by a unique protein trafficking defect in which AGT is mistargeted from peroxisomes to mitochondria, where it is metabolically ineffectual, despite remaining catalytically active. Although the peroxisomal import of human AGT is dependent upon the PTS1 import receptor PEX5p, its PTS1 is exquisitely specific for mammalian AGT, suggesting the presence of additional peroxisomal targeting information elsewhere in the AGT molecule. This and many other functional peculiarities of AGT are probably a consequence of its rather chequered evolutionary history, during which much of its time has been spent being a mitochondrial, rather than a peroxisomal, enzyme. Analysis of the molecular basis of AGT mistargeting in PH1 has thrown into sharp relief some of the fundamental differences between the requirements of the peroxisomal and mitochondrial protein import pathways, particularly the properties of peroxisomal and mitochondrial matrix targeting sequences and the different conformational limitations placed upon importable cargos.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2007 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
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    Joseph T Behnam · Emma L Williams · Susanne Brink · Gill Rumsby · Christopher J Danpure
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    ABSTRACT: Failure to detoxify the intermediary metabolite glyoxylate in human hepatocytes underlies the metabolic pathology of two potentially lethal hereditary calcium oxalate kidney stone diseases, PH (primary hyperoxaluria) types 1 and 2. In order to define more clearly the roles of enzymes involved in the metabolism of glyoxylate, we have established singly, doubly and triply transformed CHO (Chinese-hamster ovary) cell lines, expressing all combinations of normal human AGT (alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase; the enzyme deficient in PH1), GR/HPR (glyoxylate/hydroxypyruvate reductase; the enzyme deficient in PH2), and GO (glycolate oxidase). We have embarked on the preliminary metabolic analysis of these transformants by studying the indirect toxicity of glycolate as a simple measure of the net intracellular production of glyoxylate. Our results show that glycolate is toxic only to those cells expressing GO and that this toxicity is diminished when AGT and/or GR/HPR are expressed in addition to GO. This finding indicates that we have been able to reconstruct the glycolate-->glyoxylate, glyoxylate-->glycine, and glyoxylate-->glycolate metabolic pathways, catalysed by GO, AGT, and GR/HPR respectively, in cells that do not normally express them. These results are compatible with the findings in PH1 and PH2, in which AGT and GR/HPR deficiencies lead to increased oxalate synthesis, due to the failure to detoxify its immediate precursor glyoxylate. These CHO cell transformants have a potential use as a cell-based bioassay for screening small molecules that stabilize AGT or GR/HPR and might have use in the treatment of PH1 or PH2.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2006 · Biochemical Journal
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    Christopher J Danpure

    Preview · Article · Sep 2005 · Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation
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    ABSTRACT: Although human alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT) is imported into peroxisomes by a Pex5p-dependent pathway, the properties of its C-terminal tripeptide (KKL) are unlike those of any other type 1 peroxisomal targeting sequence (PTS1). We have previously suggested that AGT might possess ancillary targeting information that enables its unusual PTS1 to work. In this study, we have attempted to locate this information and to determine whether or not it is a characteristic of all vertebrate AGTs. Using the two-hybrid system, we show that human AGT interacts with human Pex5p in mammalian cells, but not yeast cells. Using (immuno)fluorescence microscopic analysis of the distribution of various constructs expressed in COS cells, we show the following. 1) The putative ancillary peroxisomal targeting information (PTS1A) in human AGT is located entirely within the smaller C-terminal structural domain of 110 amino acids, with the sequence between Val-324 and Ile-345 being the most likely candidate region. 2) The PTS1A is present in all mammalian AGTs studied (human, rat, guinea pig, rabbit, and cat), but not amphibian AGT (Xenopus). 3) The PTS1A is necessary for peroxisomal import of human, rabbit, and cat AGTs, but not rat and guinea pig AGTs. We speculate that the internal PTS1A of human AGT works in concert with the C-terminal PTS1 by interacting with Pex5p indirectly with the aid of a yet-to-be-identified mammal-specific adaptor molecule. This interaction might reshape the tetratricopeptide repeat domain allosterically, enabling it to accept KKL as a functional PTS1.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2005 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: The subcellular distribution of the enzyme alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT) in the livers of different mammals appears to be related to their natural diets. Thus, AGT tends to be mitochondrial in carnivores, peroxisomal in herbivores, and both mitochondrial and peroxisomal in omnivores. To what extent this relationship is an incidental consequence of phylogenetic structure or an evolutionarily meaningful adaptive response to changes in dietary selection pressure is unknown. In order to distinguish between these two possibilities, we have determined the subcellular distribution of AGT in the livers of 22 new mammalian species, including members of three orders not studied before. In addition, we have analysed the statistical relationship between AGT distribution and diet in all 77 mammalian species, from 12 different orders, for which the distribution is currently known. Our analysis shows that there is a highly significant correlation between AGT distribution and diet, independent of phylogeny. This finding is compatible with the suggestion that the variable intracellular targeting of AGT is an adaptive response to episodic changes in dietary selection pressure. To our knowledge, this is the first example of such a response being manifested at the molecular and cellular levels across the breadth of Mammalia.
    Full-text · Article · May 2005 · Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • Christopher J Danpure
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    ABSTRACT: Primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1) is a rare autosomal-recessive disorder caused by a deficiency of the liver-specific enzyme alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT). AGT deficiency results in increased synthesis and excretion of the metabolic end-product oxalate and deposition of insoluble calcium oxalate in the kidney and urinary tract. Classic treatments for PH1 have tended to address the more distal aspects of the disease process (i.e. the symptoms rather than the causes). However, advances in the understanding of the molecular etiology of PH1 over the past decade have shifted attention towards the more proximal aspects of the disease process (i.e. the causes rather than the symptoms). The determination of the crystal structure of AGT has enabled the effects of some of the most important missense mutations in the AGXT gene to be rationalised in terms of AGT folding, dimerization and stability. This has opened up new possibilities for the design pharmacological agents that might counteract the destabilizing effects of these mutations and which might be of use for the treatment of a potentially life-threatening and difficult-to-treat disease.
    No preview · Article · May 2005 · American Journal of Nephrology
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    Elizabeth F Caldwell · Lianne R Mayor · Mark G Thomas · Christopher J Danpure
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    ABSTRACT: The intermediary metabolic enzyme alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT) contains a Pro11Leu polymorphism that decreases its catalytic activity by a factor of three and causes a small proportion to be mistargeted from its normal intracellular location in the peroxisomes to the mitochondria. These changes are predicted to have significant effects on the synthesis and excretion of the metabolic end-product oxalate and the deposition of insoluble calcium oxalate in the kidney and urinary tract. Based on the evolution of AGT targeting in mammals, we have previously hypothesised that this polymorphism would be advantageous for individuals who have a meat-rich diet, but disadvantageous for those who do not. If true, the frequency distribution of Pro11Leu in different extant human populations should have been shaped by their dietary history so that it should be more common in populations with predominantly meat-eating ancestral diets than it is in populations in which the ancestral diets were predominantly vegetarian. In the present study, we have determined frequency of Pro11Leu in 11 different human populations with divergent ancestral dietary lifestyles. We show that the Pro11Leu allelic frequency varies widely from 27.9% in the Saami, a population with a very meat-rich ancestral diet, to 2.3% in Chinese, who are likely to have had a more mixed ancestral diet. F ST analysis shows that the differences in Pro11Leu frequency between some populations (particularly Saami vs Chinese) was very high when compared with neutral loci, suggesting that its frequency might have been shaped by dietary selection pressure.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2004 · Human Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Not all members of the order Carnivora are carnivorous. Some are omnivorous, and a few, such as the giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, are almost exclusively herbivorous. Although a number of adaptations to increased plant-eating are recognized within Carnivora, few have been studied at the molecular level. One molecular adaptation to diet that is spread widely across Mammalia is the differential intracellular targeting of the intermediary metabolic enzyme alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT), which tends to be mitochondrial in carnivores, peroxisomal in herbivores, and both mitochondrial and peroxisomal in omnivores. In the present study, we have analyzed the targeting of AGT in Carnivora in relation to species' natural diets. We show not only that there has been an adaptive shift in AGT targeting from the mitochondrion toward the peroxisome as diets have shifted from being mainly carnivorous to ones that are more omnivorous and herbivorous but also that in one lineage, namely that of the giant panda, there is evidence for positive selection pressure at the molecular level on the AGT mitochondrial targeting sequence to decrease its efficiency, thereby allowing more AGT to be targeted to the peroxisomes.
    Full-text · Article · May 2004 · Molecular Biology and Evolution
  • Christopher J Danpure · Gill Rumsby
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    ABSTRACT: The primary hyperoxalurias type 1 (PH1) and type 2 (PH2) are autosomal recessive calcium oxalate kidney stone diseases caused by deficiencies of the metabolic enzymes alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT) and glyoxylate/hydroxypyruvate reductase (GR/HPR), respectively. Over 50 mutations have been identified in the AGXT gene (encoding AGT) in PH1, associated with a wide variety of effects on AGT, including loss of catalytic activity, aggregation, accelerated degradation, and peroxisome-to-mitochondrion mistargeting. Some of these mutations segregate and interact synergistically with a common polymorphism. Over a dozen mutations have been found in the GRHPR gene (encoding GR/HPR) in PH2, all associated with complete loss of glyoxylate reductase enzyme activity and immunoreactive protein. The crystal structure of human AGT, but not human GR/HPR, has been solved, allowing the effects of many of the mutations in PH1 to be rationalised in structural terms. Detailed analysis of the molecular aetiology of PH1 and PH2 has led to significant improvements in all aspects of their clinical management. Enzyme replacement therapy by liver transplantation can provide a metabolic cure for PH1, but it has yet to be tried for PH2. New treatments that aim to counter the effects of specific mutations on the properties of the enzymes could be feasible in the not-too-distant future.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2004 · Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine

Publication Stats

4k Citations
761.56 Total Impact Points


  • 1994-2015
    • University College London
      • • Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
      • • MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2004
    • Cardiff University
      Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 1997
    • University Children's Hospital Basel
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland
  • 1995
    • University of Amsterdam
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 1977-1994
    • MRC Clinical Sciences Centre
      London Borough of Harrow, England, United Kingdom
  • 1993
    • University of Chicago
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 1978-1992
    • Florida Clinical Research Center
      Florida, United States
  • 1989
    • University of Cambridge
      • Department of Veterinary Medicine
      Cambridge, ENG, United Kingdom