Carlos Hirschberg, PhD
Emeritus Professor
Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine
Dept of Molecular & Cell Biology

PhD, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
MS, Rutgers University Camden



Expertise in the role of novel regulation of posttranslational modifications in development and disease.

Our laboratory is interested in studying the biogenesis, structure and function of lower and higher eukaryotes' cell surfaces and the extracellular matrix by using a combined biochemical, molecular biological and genetic approach. Our particular effort is focused on glycoproteins, glycolipids, and glycosaminoglycans. These play important roles in the regulation of cell growth, intercellular recognition, cell adhesion, and as receptors for hormones, toxins and growth factors.

A major research effort has centered around mechanisms of glycosylation, sulfation and phosphorylation of the above-named compounds. Specific questions which are being asked include the intracellular membrane topography of glycosylation, sulfation and phosphorylation reactions and how precursors are transported from their intracellular site of synthesis to the site(s) of glycosylation, sulfation and phosphorylation. We have characterized a number of transporters in the membrane of the rough endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus which transport precursors into the lumen of these organelles. These transporters are antiporters. We and others have described Chinese hamster ovary cells, yeast, protozoa, nematodes, insects and plants which are defective in transport of sugar nucleotides into the Golgi apparatus lumen. These mutants have a developmentally impaired phenotype and can cause a virulent wild type organism to become avirulent, demonstrating that the transporters are of physiologic relevance and may become drug targets. Recently the first diseases in such transporters were described: leukocyte adhesion deficiency II syndrome in humans and complex vertebral malformation in bovines. We have purified and cloned some of these transporters by using biochemical and molecular biological approaches, including genetic complementation. More recently, we are also studying the function of these transporters in C. elegans and are cloning and disrupting the genes of enzymes involved in the above posttranslational modifications, i.e., a Golgi GDPase from K. lactis, Candida albicans, and C. elegans. This approach should enable us to determine the functions of specific glycoproteins and glycosaminoglycans during development.

Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students)
Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences




Biosynthesis of Phosphorylcholine Oligosaccharides
09/01/2006 - 08/31/2009 (PI)
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
5 R21 GM78035 02

Characterization of the C. Elegans N- and O-glycomes
05/01/2002 - 04/30/2005 (Dept Sponsor)
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
1 F32 GM66486 01

Membrane Topology and Biosynthesis of Glycosaminoglycans
07/01/1987 - 11/30/2003 (PI)
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
5 R01 GM34396 20

The Golgi GDP-fucose Transport and Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency II Syndrome
04/01/2000 - 03/31/2001 (PI)
Mizutani Foundation for Glycosciences

Topological Orientation of the Kluyveromyces Lactis UDP-N-Acetylglucosamine Transporter in Golgi Vesicles
05/01/1999 - 04/30/2000 (Dept Sponsor)
American Association for Dental Research (AADR)




Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

  1. Caffaro CE, Koshy AA, Liu L, Zeiner GM, Hirschberg CB, Boothroyd JC. A nucleotide sugar transporter involved in glycosylation of the Toxoplasma tissue cyst wall is required for efficient persistence of bradyzoites. PLoS Pathog. 2013; 9(5):e1003331. PMID: 23658519; PMCID: PMC3642066; DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003331;.
  2. Liu L, Xu YX, Caradonna KL, Kruzel EK, Burleigh BA, Bangs JD, Hirschberg CB. Inhibition of nucleotide sugar transport in Trypanosoma brucei alters surface glycosylation. J Biol Chem. 2013 Apr 12; 288(15):10599-615. PMID: 23443657; PMCID: PMC3624441; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M113.453597;.
  3. Liu L, Hirschberg CB. Developmental diseases caused by impaired nucleotide sugar transporters. Glycoconj J. 2013 Jan; 30(1):5-10. PMID: 22527830; DOI: 10.1007/s10719-012-9375-4;.
  4. Wickner WT, Stubbe J, Hirschberg CB, Garrett T, Dowhan W. Chris Raetz, scientist and enduring friend. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 18; 108(42):17255-6. PMID: 21969572; PMCID: PMC3198341; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1114405108;.
  5. Xu YX, Liu L, Caffaro CE, Hirschberg CB. Inhibition of Golgi apparatus glycosylation causes endoplasmic reticulum stress and decreased protein synthesis. J Biol Chem. 2010 Aug 6; 285(32):24600-8.View Related Profiles. PMID: 20529871; PMCID: PMC2915696; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.134544;.
  6. Liu L, Xu YX, Hirschberg CB. The role of nucleotide sugar transporters in development of eukaryotes. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2010 Aug; 21(6):600-8.View Related Profiles. PMID: 20144721; PMCID: PMC2917499; DOI: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2010.02.002;.
  7. Caffaro CE, Luhn K, Bakker H, Vestweber D, Samuelson J, Berninsone P, Hirschberg CB. A single Caenorhabditis elegans Golgi apparatus-type transporter of UDP-glucose, UDP-galactose, UDP-N-acetylglucosamine, and UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine. Biochemistry. 2008 Apr 8; 47(14):4337-44.View Related Profiles. PMID: 18341292; DOI: 10.1021/bi702468g;.
  8. Uccelletti D, Pascoli A, Farina F, Alberti A, Mancini P, Hirschberg CB, Palleschi C. APY-1, a novel Caenorhabditis elegans apyrase involved in unfolded protein response signalling and stress responses. Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Apr; 19(4):1337-45. PMID: 18216284; PMCID: PMC2291423; DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E07-06-0547;.
  9. Caffaro CE, Hirschberg CB, Berninsone PM. Functional redundancy between two Caenorhabditis elegans nucleotide sugar transporters with a novel transport mechanism. J Biol Chem. 2007 Sep 21; 282(38):27970-5. PMID: 17652078.
  10. Caffaro CE, Hirschberg CB. Nucleotide sugar transporters of the Golgi apparatus: from basic science to diseases. Acc Chem Res. 2006 Nov; 39(11):805-12. PMID: 17115720.
Showing 10 of 100 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 93 publications over 31 distinct years, with a maximum of 6 publications in 1986

YearPublications
19801
19812
19823
19831
19845
19852
19866
19873
19884
19895
19903
19925
19934
19944
19952
19964
19973
19985
19994
20001
20014
20025
20044
20052
20062
20071
20082
20102
20111
20121
20132
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72 E. Concord St Evans Building
Boston MA 02118
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