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Amanda Bird

Associate Professor, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Human Nutrition

(614) 247-1559
bird.96@osu.edu

Biography

Amanda Bird is an associate professor in the departments of Human Sciences and Molecular Genetics at the Ohio State University. She earned her bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Durham University, England, and her PhD in Molecular Genetics, from the University of Newcastle, England. 

Bird’s research interests are focused on understanding mechanisms by which cells sense and maintain optimal zinc levels. Her current research topics use the fission yeast model system to:

  1. identify proteins and metabolites that buffer zinc ions;
  2. determine the mechanisms by which cells sense zinc ions; and
  3. identify factors that affect intracellular zinc transport.

She has research published in peer-review journals such as the Journal of Biological Chemistry and The Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences.  Bird is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is also an editorial board member of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Education

  • PhD, Biochemistry and Genetics, University of Newcastle, UK, 1998
  • BS, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Durham, UK, 1994

Research Interests

  • Human Nutrition
    • Metal homeostasis
    • Mineral metabolism
    • Nutrient-dependent changes in gene expression

Research Summary

My lab is interested in how cells maintain zinc homeostasis because imbalances in the levels and distribution of zinc ions inside of cells can be detrimental to human health.  Zinc deficiency is a global world health problem, which leads to ~4% of the global morbidity and mortality in young children.  Multiple genetic disorders are also a caused by mutations that affect the total level or zinc inside of cells, and imbalances in the concentration of zinc ions inside of cells have also been observed in many complex diseases including Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers. Despite clear evidence that disruptions to zinc homeostasis are detrimental to normal cellular function, relatively little is known about the mechanisms by which cells sense and regulate zinc levels. 

In my lab we use the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe to study how cells sense and regulate intracellular zinc levels.  Benefits of using yeast models to study processes that are conserved from yeast to humans, include that lab strains can be haploid or diploid enabling rapid screening of recessive phenotypes, and they can be easily grown and genetically manipulated.   Current projects in the lab include using fission yeast as a tool to understand how cells are able to sense and alter gene expression in response to zinc ion availability.  We also use yeast to study how zinc transport inside of cells in regulated. 

Selected Publications

  • Bird AJ and Wilson S (2020). Zinc homeostasis in the secretory pathway in yeast. Curr Opin Chem Biol 55:145-150. PMID: 32114317

  • Wilson S, Liu YH, Cardona-Soto C, Wadhwa V, Foster MP, and Bird AJ (2019). The Loz1 transcription factor from Schizosaccharomyces pombe binds to Loz1 response elements and represses gene expression when zinc is in excess. Mol Microbiol 112:1701-1717. PMID: 31515876
  • Hu Y-M, Boehm DM, Chung H, Wilson S, and Bird AJ (2019) Zinc-dependent activation of the Pho8 alkaline phosphatase in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. J Biol Chem 294:12392-12404.  PMID: 31239353
  • Choi S, Hu Y-M, Corkins ME, Palmer AE, and Bird AJ (2018) Zinc transporters belonging to the Cation Diffusion Facilitator (CDF) family have complementary roles in transporting zinc out of the cytosol.  PLOS Genet. 14(3):e1007262. PMID: 29529046
  • Bird AJ and Labbé S (2017) The Zap1 transcriptional activator negatively regulates translation of the RTC4 mRNA through the use of alternative 5' transcript leaders.  Mol. Microbiol 106:673-677. PMID: 28971534
  • Corkins ME, Wilson S, Cocuron JC, Alonso AP, and Bird AJ (2017) The gluconate shunt is an alternative route for directing glucose into the pentose phosphate pathway in fission yeast. J Biol Chem 292:13823-13832.  PMID: 28667014
  • Wilson S and Bird AJ (2016) Zinc sensing and regulation in yeast model systems.  Arch Biochem and Biophys. 611:30-36.  PMID: 26940262
  • Bird AJ (2015) Cellular sensing and transport of metal ions: implications in micronutrient homeostasis.  J. Nutr. Biochem. 26:1103-1115. PMID: 26342943
  • Ehrensberger KM, Corkins ME, Choi S, and Bird AJ (2014) The Double Zinc Finger Domain and Adjacent Accessory Domain from the Transcription Factor Loss of Zinc Sensing 1 (Loz1) Are Necessary for DNA Binding and Zinc Sensing". J Biol Chem. 289:18087-18096.  PMID: 24831008
  • Choi S, and Bird AJ (2014) Zinc’ing sensibly: controlling zinc homeostasis at the transcriptional level.  Metallomics 6:1198-1215.  PMID: 24722954
  • Corkins ME, May M, Ehrensberger KM, Hu YM, Liu YH, Bloor SD, Jenkins B, Runge KW, Bird AJ (2013) Zinc finger protein Loz1 is required for zinc-responsive regulation of gene expression in fission yeast. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103:8674-79.  PMID: 24003116
  • Ehrensberger KE, Mason C, Corkins, ME, Anderson C, Dutrow N, Cairns B, Dalley B, Milash B, and Bird AJ (2013) Zinc-dependent regulation of the adh1 antisense transcript in fission yeast. J Biol Chem. 288:759-769.  PMID: 23223230
  • Ehrensberger KE and Bird AJ (2011) Hammering out details: Regulating metal levels in eukaryotes.  TIBS 36:524-31.  PMID: 21840721
  • Frey AG, Bird AJ, Blankman E, Evans-Galea M, Winge DR, and Eide DJ (2011) Zinc-regulated DNA Binding of the yeast Zap1 zinc-responsive activator.  PLOS One 6:e22535.  PMID: 21799889
  • Wu CY, Roje S, Sandoval FJ, Bird AJ, Winge DR, and Eide DJ (2009) Repression of sulfate zinc assimilation is an adaptive response of yeast to the oxidative stress of deficiency.  J Biol Chem 284:27544-56.  PMID: 19656949
  • Wu CY, Bird AJ, Chung LM, Newton MA, Winge DR, and Eide DJ (2008) Differential control of Zap1-regulated genes in response to zinc deficiency in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  BMC Genomics 9:370-387.  PMID: 18673560
  • Khalimonchuk O, Bird AJ, and Winge DR (2007) Evidence for a pro-oxidant intermediate in the assembly of cytochrome oxidase.  J Biol Chem 282:17442-9
  • Bird AJ (2007) Metallosensors, the ups and downs of gene regulation.  Adv Microb Physiol 53:232-57. PMID: 17707146
  • Bird AJ, Gordon M, Eide DJ, and Winge DR (2006) Repression of ADH1 and ADH3 gene expression during zinc deficiency by Zap1-induced intergenic RNA transcripts. EMBO J 25:5726-34.  PMID: 17139254