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Courtney Karner

Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Cell Biology
(919) 668.5664
Research Interest: 
Developmental biology
Signal transduction
Research Summary: 
The role and molecular regulation of cellular metabolism during musculoskeletal development and disease.
Research Description: 

My lab is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that influence cell fate determination using bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells as a model system. These cells have the capacity to differentiate into multiple cell lineages including fat (adipocytes), cartilage (chondrocytes) and bone (osteoblasts). We are primarily interested in the role of amino acid metabolism and its regulation during differentiation. We use a multifaceted approach combining cell biology, bioinformatics, CRISPR/Cas9 technology and mouse genetics to understand the necessity and sufficiency of various metabolic pathways to determine cell fate and how individual amino acids are utilized during differentiation. Finally, we are interested in evaluating the effects of aging on cellular metabolism as well as determining the role of amino acid metabolism in human diseases including osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and during skeletal repair and regeneration.

Wnt Protein Signaling Reduces Nuclear Acetyl-CoA Levels to Suppress Gene Expression during Osteoblast Differentiation.
Karner CM, Esen E, Chen J, Hsu FF, Turk J, Long F.
J Biol Chem. 2016. 291:13028-39.

Increased glutamine catabolism mediates bone anabolism in response to WNT signaling.
Karner CM, Esen E, Okunade AL, Patterson BW, Long F.
J Clin Invest. 2015. 125:551-62.

WNT-LRP5 signaling induces Warburg effect through mTORC2 activation during osteoblast differentiation.
Esen E, Chen J, Karner CM, Okunade AL, Patterson BW, Long F.
Cell Metab. 2013. 17:745-55.

Canonical Wnt9b signaling balances progenitor cell expansion and differentiation during kidney development.
Karner CM, Das A, Ma Z, Self M, Chen C, Lum L, Oliver G, Carroll TJ.
Development. 2011. 138:1247-57.

Wnt9b signaling regulates planar cell polarity and kidney tubule morphogenesis.
Karner CM, Chirumamilla R, Aoki S, Igarashi P, Wallingford JB, Carroll TJ.
Nat Genet. 2009. 41:793-9.