Wayne A. Johnson, PhD

Portrait
Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

Contact Information

Office: 6-472 BSB
51 Newton Road
Iowa City, IA 52242
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Lab: 6-473, 6-566 BSB
51 Newton Road
Iowa City, IA 52242
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Primary Office:
319-335-7876

Education

BS, Pharmacy, University of Wyoming
PhD, Pharmacology, University of Washington

Fellow, Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Washington
Fellow, Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School

Licensure and Certifications

Registered Pharmacist - Washington State Board of Pharmacy

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics PhD, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience

Research Summary

Genetic analysis of locomotion behavior: molecular mechanisms of sensory signal transduction. Coordination of rhythmic locomotion such as crawling, swimming or walking depends upon a precisely balanced interplay between central and peripheral control mechanisms. Disruptions of this relationship caused by stroke, athletic injuries, peripheral neuropathy or osteoarthiritis can result in severe defects in motor control. Although significant advances have been made recently, we still have a relatively poor molecular understanding of how peripheral proprioceptive mechanosensory input is able to provide information about body position for moment to moment modifications of central mechanisms mediating rhythmic motor output. Does mechanosensory signaling in proprioceptive neurons designed to detect stretch or tension require a different signaling complex than neurons functioning in external touch sensation? We have developed a genetic model system in Drosophila to examine the molecular components of proprioceptive mechanosensation in type II multiple dendritic(md) sensory neurons. We have isolated a series of locomotion mutants displaying an unusual enhanced locomotion phenotype indicative of altered motor control. These mutant larvae crawl faster and farther with fewer stops and turns than wild-type larvae. One mutant gene encodes a Drosophila epithelial sodium channel subunit, Pickpocket1, making it a candidate mechanotransduction channel. We are currently utilizing the genomic and genetic resources available in the Drosophila system to clone other enhanced locomotion genes in our collection. Combined with an electrophysiological analysis of multiple dendritic neuron function, this molecular information should allow a more detailed characterization of their physiological functions and their relationships to each other.

Publications

Kim, M. J., Johnson, W. A. (2014). Larval response to UVC irradiation is mediated by activation of larval nociceptors by reactive oxygen species. BMC Neuroscience, 15(14). PMID: 24433322.

Kim, M. J., Ainsley, J. A., Carder, J. W. & Johnson, W. A. (2013). Hyperoxia-triggered aversion behavior in Drosophila foraging larvae is mediated by sensory detection of hydrogen peroxide. J. Neurogenetics, 27(4), 151-62. PMID: 23927496.

Johnson, W. A., Kim, M. J., Ainsley, J. A. & Carder, J. W. (2012). ROS-mediated detection of epidermal mechanical stress by larval peripheral nociceptors. Chicago, IL: 53nd Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Carder, J. W. (2012). Building a better nociceptor: developmental and evolutionary adaptation to environmental change. Janelia Farm Conference on Neurogenetics of Larval Behavior.

Johnson, W. A., Kim, M. (2012). Larval response to UVC irradiation is mediated by activation of larval nociceptors by reactive oxygen species.

Johnson, W. A., Carder, J. W. (2012). Drosophila nociceptors mediate larval aversion to dry surface environments utilizing both the Painless TRP channel and the DEG/ENaC subunit, PPK1.

Johnson, W. A., Carder, J. W. (2012). An ROS-mediated developmental shift in sensory modality mediates Drosophila larval food exit.

Johnson, W. A., Kim, M., Ainsley, J. A. & Carder, J. W. (2012). Drosophila H2O2-activated sensory neurons mediate larval behavioral response to external environmental changes.

Johnson, W. A., kim, M. J. & Ainsley, J. A. (2011). Larval Floor Burn: An ROS-activated nociceptor mediates larval aversion to high friction locomotion. San Diego, CA: 52nd Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Vermehren-Schmaedick, A., Ainsley, J. A., Davies, S. A. & Morton, D. B. (2010). Behavioral Responses to Hypoxia in Drosophila Larvae Are Mediated by Atypical Soluble Guanyl Cyclases.

Johnson, W. A., Wegman, L. J. & Ainsley, J. A. (2010). Developmental timing of a sensory-mediated larval surfacing behavior correlates with cessation of feeding and determination of final adult size.

Johnson, W. A., Ainsley, J. A., Kim, M., Wegman, L. J. & Pettus, J. M. (2008). Sensory mechanisms controlling the timing of larval developmental and behavioral transitions require the Drosophila DEG/ENaC subunit, Pickpocket1.

Ainsley, J. A., Kim, M. J., Wegman, L. J., Pettus, J. M. & Johnson, W. A. (2006). Reactive oxygen species-sensitive class IV multiple dendritic neurons coordinate larval growth and the developmental timing of neuroendocrine signaling. Houton, TX: 47th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Wegman, L. J., Kim, M. J., Ainsley, J. A., Pettus, J. M. & Johnson, W. A. (2006). Class IV multiple dendritic neurons function as part of a peripheral sensory system to coordinate larval growth with the developmental timing of ecdysone signaling. Houston, TX: 47th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Pettus, J. M., Johnson, W. A. (2005). Subcellular localization of the Drosophila DEG/ENaC/ASIC channel subunit Pickpocket1 in higher order dendrites of class IV multiple dendritic neurons. San Diego, CA: 46th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Kim, M. J., Bosenko, D., Pettus, J., Solly, L., Welsh, M. J. & Johnson, W. A. (2003). Proprioceptive mechanosensory signaling in type II multiple dendritic (md) neurons. San Diego, CA: 44th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Liu, L., Yermolaieva, O., Abboud, F. M. & Welsh, M. J. (2003). Identification and function of thermosensory neurons in Drosophila larvae.

Johnson, W. A., Komiyama, T., Luo, L. & Jefferis, G. (2003). From Lineage to Wiring Specificity: POU Domain Transcription Factors Regulate Precise Connectivity of Drosophila Olfactory Projection Neurons.

Kim, M. J., Ainsley, J. A., Pettus, J. M., Gerstein, C. E., Welsh, M. J. & Johnson, W. A. (2003). Regulation of larval rhythmic locomotion by the DEG/ENaC cation channel, Pickpocket1, in multiple dendritic sensory neurons. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Neurobiology of Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Liu, L. & Welsh, M. J. (2003). Drosophila DEG/ENaC/pickpocket genes are expressed in the tracheal system where they may be involved in liquid clearance.

Johnson, W. A., Liu, L., Leonard, A. S., Motto, D. G., Feller, M. A., Price, M. P. & Welsh, M. J. (2003). Contribution of Drosophila DEG/ENaC genes to salt taste.

Johnson, W. A., Ainsley, J. A., Pettus, J. M., Bosenko, D., Gerstein, C. E., Zinkevich, N., Anderson, M. G., Adams, C. M. & Welsh, M. J. (2003). Enhanced locomotion caused by loss of the Drosophila DEG/ENaC protein, Pickpocket.

Kim, M. J., Zinkevich, N., Israel, P., Pettus, J., Ainsley, J., Bosenko, D., Latusick, K., Solly, L., Liu, L., Welsh, M. J. & Johnson, W. A. (2002). Molecular mechanisms of thermosensory signal transduction. San Diego, CA: 43rd Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Zinkevich, N., Bosenko, D., Liu, L., Israel, P., Welsh, M. J. & Johnson, W. A. (2001). Thermosensory function of Drosophila epithelial sodium channel family members in antennae and maxillary palp. Washington, DC: 42nd Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Liu, L., Johnson, W. A. & Welsh, M. J. (2001). Defective salt taste behavior caused by disruption of DEG/ENaC protein function in D. melanogaster. Washington, DC: 42nd Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Certel, S. J., Johnson, W. A. & Thor, S. (2001). Regulation of motor axon targeting by the combinatorial activity of POU and LIM homeodomain proteins. Washington, DC: 42nd Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Certel, S. J., Hudson, A., Carroll, S. B. & Johnson, W. A. (2000). The Drosophila Drifter POU domain protein regulates wing cell growth and patterning by direct transcriptional activation of vestigial. Pittsburgh, PA: 41st Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Certel, S. J., Clyne, P. J. & Carlson, J. R. (2000). Regulation of central neuron synaptic targeting by the Drosophila POU protein, Acj6.

Johnson, W. A., Certel, K., Hudson, A. & Carrol, S. (2000). Restricted patterning of vestigial expression in Drosophila wing imaginal discs requires synergistic activation by both Mad and the Drifter POU domain transcription factor.

Certel, S. J., Johnson, W. A. (2000). Regulation of central neuron synapse formation and selection by the POU domain transcription factor, Acj6. Pittsburgh, PA: 41st Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Ma, Y., Certel, K., Gao, Y., Niemitz, E., Mosher, J., Mukherjee, A., Crews, S. T. & Nambu, J. R. (2000). Functional interactions between Drosophila bHLH-PAS, Sox and POU transcription factors regulate CNS midline expression of the slit gene. J. Neurosci., 20(12), 4595-4605.

Liu, L., Johnson, W. A. & Welsh, M. J. (2000). New members of the Drosophila melanogaster DEG/ENaC family. Pittsburgh, PA: 41st Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Certel, K., Johnson, W. A. (1999). The Drosophila POU domain transcription factor, Drifter, participates in DPP signaling during wing development. Bellevue, WA: 40th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Clyne, P., Certel, S. J., de Bruyne, M., Johnson, W. A. & Carlson, J. R. (1999). The odor response profiles of a subset of olfactory receptor neurons depend on ACJ6, a POU domain transcription factor. Bellevue, WA: 40th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Anderson, M. G., Adams, C. N., Motto, D. G., Welsh, M. J. & Johnson, W. A. (1999). The mechanosensory epithelial sodium channel, Pickpocket, is required for coordinated adult motility. Bellevue, WA: 40th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Clyne, P. J., Certel, S. J., de Bruyne, M., Zaslavsky, L. & Carlson, J. R. (1999). The odor-specificities of a subset of olfactory receptor neurons are governed by Acj6, a POU-Domain transcription factor.

Certel, S. J., Clyne, P., Carlson, J. & Anderson, W. A. (1999). Regulation of axon targeting and synaptic connectivity by the POU domain transcription factor, ACJ6. Bellevue, WA: 40th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Goldman, A., Lessing, D., Certel, S. J., Johnson, W. A. & Carlson, J. (1999). Odorant receptor gene selection: evidence that ACJ6 binds to receptor gene regulatory DNA. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on the Neurobiology of Drosophila.

Certel, K., Johnson, W. A. (1998). Genetic dissection of POU domain function: Characterization of MAD as a second site modifier of Ventral veinless/Drifter function. Palo Alto, California: 57th Annual Meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology, Stanford University.

Johnson, W. A., Anderson, M. G., Certel, S. J. & Certel, K. Function of the Drosophila POU-domain transcription factor Drifter as an upstream regulator of Breathless receptor tyrosine kinase expression in developing trachea.

Certel, S. J., Johnson, W. A. (1999). ACJ6, a POU domain transcription factor, regulates essential components of synapse formation and central neuron processing. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Axon Guidance and Developmental Plasticity of the Nervous System.

Ma, Y., Certel, K., Mosher, J., Johnson, W. A., Crews, S. T. & Nambu, J. R. (1999). Functional interactions between fish-hook, single-minded and drifter regulate CNS midline differentiation and gene expression. Bellevue, WA: 40th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Certel, K., Johnson, W. A. (1998). Genetic dissection of POU domain function: Characterization of second site modifiers of Ventral Veinless/Drifter. Washington, DC: 39th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Certel, S. J., Chinn, A. F. & Johnson, W. A. (1998). The Drosophila POU domain transcription factor, ACJ6, regulates essential components of synapse formation and interneuron processing. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Axon Guidance and Developmental Plasticity of the Nervous System.

Johnson, W. A., Adams, C. M., Anderson, M. G., Motto, D. G., Price, M. P. & Welsh, M. J. (1998). Ripped pocket and Pickpocket; Novel Drosophila DEG/ENaC channel subunits expressed in early development and in mechanosensory neurons. J. Cell Biol, 140(1), 143-152.

Certel, S. J., Chinn, A. F. & Johnson, W. A. (1998). The Drosophila POU domain transcription factor, ACJ6, regulates essential components of axon guidance and neuromuscular synapse formation. Washington, DC: 39th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Certel, S. J., Johnson, W. A. (1997). The role of inhibitory POU domain heterodimers in neural development. Chicago, Illinois: 38th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Anderson, M. G., Adams, C. M., Motto, D. G., Price, M. P., Watson, R. T., Welsh, M. J. & Johnson, W. A. (1997). Pickpocket, a novel degenerin expressed in Drosophila mechanosensory dendrites and required for coordinated flight. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on the Neurobiology of Drosophila.

Adams, C. M., Anderson, M. G., Price, M. P., Johnson, W. A. & Welsh, M. J. (1997). Identification of a novel member of the degenerin family in Drosophila. Washington, DC: 36th Annual American Society of Cell Biology Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Binari, R. C., Staveley, B. E., Godavarti, R., Sasisekharan, R. & Manoukian, A. S. (1997). Genetic evidence that heparin-like glycosaminoglycans are involved in Wingless signaling.

Anderson, M. G., Peterson, G. E. & Johnson, W. A. (1997). Genetic analysis of POU-specific domain alpha-helix 2 function in tissue-specific transactivation. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Mechanisms of Eukaryotic Transcription.

Certel, K., Anderson, M. G. & Johnson, W. A. (1997). Genetic dissection of POU domain function: Identification of enhancers and suppressors of a tissue-specific drifter allele. Chicago, Illinois: 38th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Anderson, M. G., Adams, C., Price, M., Welsh, M. & Johnson, W. A. (1997). Characterization of pickpocket, a Drosophila member of the degenerin family of ion channels. Chicago, Illinois: 38th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Anderson, M. G., Certel, K., Certel, S. J., Petersen, G. E., Lee, T., Montell, D. & Johnson, W. A. (1996). The POU-domain transcription factor Drifter directly maintains tracheal expression of the Breathless receptor tyrosine kinase. San Diego, California: 37th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Certel, K., Anderson, M. G. & Shrigley, R. J. (1996). Distinct variant octamer recognition sequences determine cell-specific autoregulated expression of the Drosophila POU-domain transcription factor Drifter in midline glia or trachea.

Johnson, W. A., Certel, K., Anderson, M. G., Certel, S. J. & Petersen, G. E. (1996). An endogenous tissue-specific TAATGARAT element mediating formation of a VP16-like complex involving the Drosophila Drifter POU-homeodomain. Taos, New Mexico: Keystone Symposium on Transcriptional Mechanisms.

Johnson, W. A., Certel, S. J. (1996). Disruption of mesectodermal lineages caused by temporal misexpression of the Drosophila POU-domain transcripton factor Drifter.

Certel, K., Anderson, M. G., Certel, S. J., Petersen, G. E. & Johnson, W. A. (1996). An endogenous tissue-specific TAATGARAT element mediating formation of a VP16-like complex involving the Drosophila Drifter POU-homeodomain. San Diego, California: 37th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Anderson, M., Certel, K., Certel, S., Petersen, G. & Johnson, W. A. (1995). Molecular and genetic analysis of interacting members of the POU-domain transcription factor family during neural and tracheal development. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Molecular Neurobiology of Drosophila Meeting, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories.

Anderson, M., Certel, K. & Johnson, W. A. (1995). Regulation of neural and tracheal development by interacting members of the Drosophila POU-domain transcription factor family. Plymouth, NH: Biological Regulatory Mechanisms Gordon Conference.

Certel, K., Johnson, W. A. (1995). Genetic characterization of ripcord, a novel locus required for formation of the embryonic ventral nerve cord. Atlanta, Georgia: 36th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Anderson, M. G., Chittick, P., Perkins, G. L. & Shrigley, R. J. (1995). Drifter, a Drosophila POU-domain transcription factor, is required for correct differentiation and migration of tracheal cells and midline glia.

Certel, S., Johnson, W. A. (1995). Alteration of cell fates at the CNS midline by ectopic expression of the POU-domain transcription factor, drifter. Atlanta, Georgia: 36th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Anderson, M., Johnson, W. A. (1995). Characterization of an allelic series of drifter mutations defines cell specific requirements for drifter protein in the CNS and trachea. Atlanta, Georgia: 36th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Shrigley, R. J., Slayton, R., Certel, K. & Johnson, W. A. (1994). Identification of sequence elements required for midline glia and tracheal expression of the POU-domain transcription factor, drifter. Chicago, Illinois: 35th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Anderson, M., Chittick, P., Perkins, G. & Johnson, W. A. (1994). Defects in midline glia and tracheal cell migration caused by mutations in the POU-domain transcription factor, drifter. Chicago, Illinois: 35th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Shrigley, R. J., Johnson, W. A. (1993). Transcriptional regulation of the Drosophila POU-domain gene, Cf1a. San Diego, CA: 34th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A. (1993). A role for the Drosophila POU-domain transcription factor, Cf1a, in the determination of glial cell identities at the midline of the developing CNS. San Diego, CA: 34th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A. (1992). Characterization of neuron-specific transcription factors in Drosophila melanogaster. In P. M. Conn (Eds.) Methods in Neuroscience. (Vols. 9). pp. 362-380. Academic Press Inc..

Wintermantel, M. R., Johnson, W. A. (1992). Expression of the Cf1a POU-domain transcription factor during cell differentiation at the midline of the developing Drosophila central nervous system. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 33rd Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A. (1991). Characterization of the POU-domain gene, Cf1a. Chicago, Illinois: 32nd Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Wintermantel, M. R., Weno, S. C., Lee, J. P. & Johnson, W. A. (1991). Developmental expression of the Drosophila POU domain gene, Cf1a. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Molecular Neurobiology of Drosophila, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Johnson, W. A., Hirsh, J. (1990). Transcription factors implicated in the regulation of neural gene expression and development in Drosophila. Saunders Scientific Publications, London, 2, 185-195.

Johnson, W. A., Hirsh, J. (1990). Binding of a Drosophila POU-domain protein to a sequence element regulating gene expression in specific dopaminergic neurons.

Johnson, W. A., Nathanson, N. M. & Horita, A. (1989). Receptor binding and characterization of TRH receptors.

Johnson, W. A., Bray, S. J. & Hirsh, J. (1989). Cis-elements and trans-factors that specify neuron-specific expression of Ddc in the CNS. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Molecular Neurobiology of Drosophila, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Johnson, W. A., McCormick, C. A., Bray, S. J. & Hirsh, J. (1989). A neuron-specific enhancer of the Drosophila dopa decarboxylase gene.

Johnson, W. A., McCormick, C. A., Bray, S. J. & Hirsh, J. (1988). Cell-specific expression of the dopa decarboxylase gene. Toronto, Canada: 29th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Bray, S. J., Hirsh, J., Heberlein, U. & Tjian, R. (1988). A cis-acting element and associated binding factor required for CNS expression of the Drosophila melanogaster dopa decarboxylase gene. EMBO Journal, 7(1), 177-188.

Johnson, W. A., Beall, C. J., Bray, S. J., Morgan, B. A., McCormick, C. A. & Hirsh, J. (1987). Neuronal and glial expression of the Drosophila melanogaster dopa decarboxylase gene. (Vols. 13). pp. 559. Society for Neuroscience.

Morgan, B. A., Johnson, W. A. & Hirsh, J. (1986). Tissue-specific splicing of the Ddc transcript. Pacific Grove, CA: 27th Annual Drosophilia Research Conference.

Johnson, W. A., Morgan, B. A. & Hirsh, J. (1986). Regulated splicing produces different forms of dopa decarboxylase in the central nervous system and hypoderm of Drosophila melanogaster. EMBO Journal, 5(12), 3335- 3342.

JOHNSON, W. A. (1985). Structural Properties of Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone Receptors from Rat Brain and Pituitary (photoaffinity, Solubilization, Isoelectric Focusium). United States – Washington: University of Washington.

Johnson, W. A., Nathanson, N. M. & Horita, A. (1984). Solubilization and characterization of thyrotropin-releasing hormone receptors from rat brain.

Johnson, W. A., Horita, A. (1983). Solubilization and characterization of thyrotropin-releasing hormone receptors from rat brain. (Vols. 13). pp. 590. Society for Neuroscience.