Michael Robert Downes

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Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) offer immense potential for regenerative medicine and studies of disease and development. Somatic cell reprogramming involves epigenomic reconfiguration, conferring iPSCs with characteristics similar to embryonic stem (ES) cells. However, it remains unknown how complete the reestablishment of ES-cell-like DNA(More)
In multicellular organisms, the ability to regulate reproduction, development, and nutrient utilization coincided with the evolution of nuclear receptors (NRs), transcription factors that utilize lipophilic ligands to mediate their function. Studying the expression profile of NRs offers a simple, powerful way to obtain highly relational information about(More)
Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are potent insulin sensitizers that act through the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) and are highly effective oral medications for type 2 diabetes. However, their unique benefits are shadowed by the risk for fluid retention, weight gain, bone loss and congestive heart failure. This raises the(More)
The circadian clock acts at the genomic level to coordinate internal behavioural and physiological rhythms via the CLOCK-BMAL1 transcriptional heterodimer. Although the nuclear receptors REV-ERB-α and REV-ERB-β have been proposed to form an accessory feedback loop that contributes to clock function, their precise roles and importance remain unresolved. To(More)
As sensors for fat-soluble hormones and dietary lipids, oscillations in nuclear receptor (NR) expression in key metabolic tissues may contribute to circadian entrainment of nutrient and energy metabolism. Surveying the diurnal expression profiles of all 49 mouse nuclear receptors in white and brown adipose tissue, liver, and skeletal muscle revealed that of(More)
The benefits of endurance exercise on general health make it desirable to identify orally active agents that would mimic or potentiate the effects of exercise to treat metabolic diseases. Although certain natural compounds, such as reseveratrol, have endurance-enhancing activities, their exact metabolic targets remain elusive. We therefore tested the effect(More)
Class IIa histone deacetylases (HDACs) are signal-dependent modulators of transcription with established roles in muscle differentiation and neuronal survival. We show here that in liver, class IIa HDACs (HDAC4, 5, and 7) are phosphorylated and excluded from the nucleus by AMPK family kinases. In response to the fasting hormone glucagon, class IIa HDACs are(More)
Mammalian metabolism is highly circadian and major hormonal circuits involving nuclear hormone receptors display interlinked diurnal cycling. However, mechanisms that logically explain the coordination of nuclear hormone receptors and the clock are poorly understood. Here we show that two circadian co-regulators, cryptochromes 1 and 2, interact with the(More)
Liver fibrosis is a reversible wound-healing response involving TGFβ1/SMAD activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). It results from excessive deposition of extracellular matrix components and can lead to impairment of liver function. Here, we show that vitamin D receptor (VDR) ligands inhibit HSC activation by TGFβ1 and abrogate liver fibrosis, whereas(More)