Maureen Hanson

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Maureen Hanson
Maureen Hanson.jpg
Alma materDuke University (B.S)

Harvard University (Ph.D)

Harvard University (Postdoctoral Fellow)
AwardsLawrence Bogorad Award of the American Society of Plant Biologists (2006)
Cornell University Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Basic Research (2009)
Scientific career
FieldsPlant reproductive biology

Plant organelle biology

RNA editing

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
InstitutionsUniversity of Virginia
Cornell University
ThesisThe genetics and biochemistry of chloroplast ribosomes mutants of Chlamydomonas reinhardi (1976)

Maureen Hanson is an American molecular biologist and Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.[1] She is a joint member of the Section of Plant Biology and Director of the Center for Enervating Neuroimmune Disease. Her research concerns gene expression in chloroplasts and mitochondria, photosynthesis, and the molecular basis of the disease Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).

Early life and education[edit]

Hanson grew up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington D.C. She attended Duke University, where she received a B.S. degree in Botany. She completed a Ph.D. in Lawrence Bogorad's lab in the Department of Biology at Harvard University.[2] Subsequently, she held an National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship in Frederick M. Ausubel’s lab at Harvard.

Research and career[edit]

Hanson joined the faculty of the Department of Biology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, as Assistant Professor in 1979. There she studied the phenomenon of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS), using the model system Petunia. With Ellora Young, she identified a mutant chimeric mitochondrial gene that encodes a toxic protein that results in abortion of pollen development.[3] Subsequently, most CMS-encoding genes have been found to be composed of abnormal chimeric gene fusions.[4] After she moved to Cornell in 1985 as Associate Professor, Stéphane Bentolila in her group used map-based cloning to find the dominant nuclear Restorer of Fertility (Rf) gene,[5] making Petunia the first plant to have both the CMS mitochondrial gene and nuclear restorer pair identified in the same species. The Petunia Rf gene was the first such gene to be identified as encoding a pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein, part of a family now known to also be involved in organelle RNA editing and other types of RNA metabolism. Most of the Rf genes cloned from other species have been found to be PPR proteins.

Hanson’s group was the first to utilize GFP technology to label plastids and mitochondria in plants. As a result, Rainer Köhler in her group rediscovered plastid protrusions,[6] which had been observed as long ago as 1908, but not previously established as a genuine feature of plant cell biology. Hanson named these structures “stromules” and demonstrated that proteins flow through them and examined their tissue-specific abundance.[7][8] Now it is known that these structures are involved in a number of phenomena, include plant defense responses.[9]

Hanson has also made many contributions to the understanding of C-to-U RNA editing in chloroplasts and plant mitochondria.[10][11] Among these are the identification of several of the protein families whose members form the diverse set of editosomes, RNA/protein complexes that carry out editing in plant organelles.[12][13][14]

Hanson began working in the area of synthetic biology for improving photosynthesis in 2011. Since then, her lab has published on attempts to introduce cyanobacterial carboxysomes into plants and engineering Rubisco, with collaborating labs of Martin Parry (Lancaster, UK) and Stephen Long (U. Illinois).[15][16] Her lab utilizes chloroplast transformation to modify plants.[17]

Due to personal interest in the disease, in 2009 Hanson initiated an additional research program on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Her group has increased the understanding of the disruptions at the molecular level that occur in this disease, which was long erroneously claimed to be a psychological illness. Her lab has demonstrated an altered gut microbiome[18][19] and altered plasma metabolites,[20][21] characterized mitochondrial genomes[22] and extracellular vesicles, observed abnormal cytokine networks,[23] and examined T cell metabolism in ME/CFS patients vs. controls[24]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Maureen Hanson | Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics". Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  2. ^ National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir of Lawrence Bogorad
  3. ^ Young, Ellora G.; Hanson, Maureen R. (1987-07-03). "A fused mitochondrial gene associated with cytoplasmic male sterility is developmentally regulated". Cell. 50 (1): 41–49. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(87)90660-x. ISSN 0092-8674. PMID 2885095. S2CID 22333195.
  4. ^ Hanson, Maureen R.; Bentolila, Stéphane (2004-06-01). "Interactions of Mitochondrial and Nuclear Genes That Affect Male Gametophyte Development". The Plant Cell. 16 (suppl 1): S154–S169. doi:10.1105/tpc.015966. ISSN 1040-4651. PMC 2643387. PMID 15131248.
  5. ^ Bentolila, S.; Alfonso, A. A.; Hanson, M. R. (2002-08-06). "A pentatricopeptide repeat-containing gene restores fertility to cytoplasmic male-sterile plants". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 99 (16): 10887–10892. Bibcode:2002PNAS...9910887B. doi:10.1073/pnas.102301599. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 125068. PMID 12136123.
  6. ^ Kohler, R. H. (1997-06-27). "Exchange of Protein Molecules Through Connections Between Higher Plant Plastids". Science. 276 (5321): 2039–2042. doi:10.1126/science.276.5321.2039. PMID 9197266.
  7. ^ "Plastid tubules of higher plants are tissue-specific and developmentally regulated". Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 3 (3): 174. 2000. doi:10.1016/s1369-5266(00)80044-8. ISSN 1369-5266.
  8. ^ Hanson, Maureen R.; Sattarzadeh, Amirali (2013-08-25). "Trafficking of Proteins through Plastid Stromules". The Plant Cell. 25 (8): 2774–2782. doi:10.1105/tpc.113.112870. ISSN 1040-4651. PMC 3784579. PMID 23983219.
  9. ^ Hanson, Maureen R.; Hines, Kevin M. (2018-01-01). "Stromules: Probing Formation and Function". Plant Physiology. 176 (1): 128–137. doi:10.1104/pp.17.01287. ISSN 0032-0889. PMC 5761818. PMID 29097392.
  10. ^ Lu, B.; Hanson, M. R. (1994-12-01). "A single homogeneous form of ATP6 protein accumulates in petunia mitochondria despite the presence of differentially edited atp6 transcripts". The Plant Cell. 6 (12): 1955–1968. doi:10.1105/tpc.6.12.1955. ISSN 1040-4651. PMC 160575. PMID 7866035.
  11. ^ Sun, Tao; Bentolila, Stephane; Hanson, Maureen R. (2016-11-01). "The Unexpected Diversity of Plant Organelle RNA Editosomes". Trends in Plant Science. 21 (11): 962–973. doi:10.1016/j.tplants.2016.07.005. ISSN 1360-1385. PMID 27491516.
  12. ^ Bentolila, S.; Heller, W. P.; Sun, T.; Babina, A. M.; Friso, G.; van Wijk, K. J.; Hanson, M. R. (2012-05-29). "RIP1, a member of an Arabidopsis protein family, interacts with the protein RARE1 and broadly affects RNA editing". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109 (22): E1453–E1461. doi:10.1073/pnas.1121465109. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 3365174. PMID 22566615.
  13. ^ Sun, T.; Germain, A.; Giloteaux, L.; Hammani, K.; Barkan, A.; Hanson, M. R.; Bentolila, S. (2013-03-19). "An RNA recognition motif-containing protein is required for plastid RNA editing in Arabidopsis and maize". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110 (12): E1169–E1178. Bibcode:2013PNAS..110E1169S. doi:10.1073/pnas.1220162110. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 3607000. PMID 23487777.
  14. ^ Sun, Tao; Shi, Xiaowen; Friso, Giulia; Van Wijk, Klaas; Bentolila, Stephane; Hanson, Maureen R. (2015-03-13). Copenhaver, Gregory P. (ed.). "A Zinc Finger Motif-Containing Protein Is Essential for Chloroplast RNA Editing". PLOS Genetics. 11 (3): e1005028. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005028. ISSN 1553-7404. PMC 4359148. PMID 25768119.
  15. ^ Hanson, Maureen R.; Lin, Myat T.; Carmo‐Silva, A. Elizabete; Parry, Martin A. J. (2016). "Towards engineering carboxysomes into C3 plants". The Plant Journal. 87 (1): 38–50. doi:10.1111/tpj.13139. ISSN 1365-313X. PMC 4970904. PMID 26867858.
  16. ^ Lin, Myat T.; Occhialini, Alessandro; Andralojc, P. John; Devonshire, Jean; Hines, Kevin M.; Parry, Martin A. J.; Hanson, Maureen R. (2014). "β-Carboxysomal proteins assemble into highly organized structures in Nicotiana chloroplasts". The Plant Journal. 79 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1111/tpj.12536. ISSN 1365-313X. PMC 4080790. PMID 24810513.
  17. ^ Schmidt, Jennifer A.; McGrath, Justin M.; Hanson, Maureen R.; Long, Stephen P.; Ahner, Beth A. (2019-07-08). "Field-grown tobacco plants maintain robust growth while accumulating large quantities of a bacterial cellulase in chloroplasts". Nature Plants. 5 (7): 715–721. doi:10.1038/s41477-019-0467-z. ISSN 2055-0278. PMID 31285558. S2CID 195825707.
  18. ^ Hanson, Maureen R.; Giloteaux, Ludovic (2017-04-01). "The gut microbiome in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis". The Biochemist. 39 (2): 10–13. doi:10.1042/BIO03902010. ISSN 0954-982X.
  19. ^ Mandarano, Alexandra H.; Giloteaux, Ludovic; Keller, Betsy A.; Levine, Susan M.; Hanson, Maureen R. (2018-01-22). "Eukaryotes in the gut microbiota in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome". PeerJ. 6: e4282. doi:10.7717/peerj.4282. ISSN 2167-8359. PMC 5784577. PMID 29375937.
  20. ^ Germain, Arnaud; Ruppert, David; Levine, Susan M.; Hanson, Maureen R. (2018-12-06). "Prospective Biomarkers from Plasma Metabolomics of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Implicate Redox Imbalance in Disease Symptomatology". Metabolites. 8 (4): 90. doi:10.3390/metabo8040090. PMC 6315598. PMID 30563204.
  21. ^ Germain, Arnaud; Barupal, Dinesh K.; Levine, Susan M.; Hanson, Maureen R. (2020-01-14). "Comprehensive Circulatory Metabolomics in ME/CFS Reveals Disrupted Metabolism of Acyl Lipids and Steroids". Metabolites. 10 (1): 34. doi:10.3390/metabo10010034. PMC 7023305. PMID 31947545.
  22. ^ Billing-Ross, Paul; Germain, Arnaud; Ye, Kaixiong; Keinan, Alon; Gu, Zhenglong; Hanson, Maureen R. (2016-01-20). "Mitochondrial DNA variants correlate with symptoms in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome". Journal of Translational Medicine. 14 (1): 19. doi:10.1186/s12967-016-0771-6. ISSN 1479-5876. PMC 4719218. PMID 26791940.
  23. ^ Giloteaux, Ludovic; O’Neal, Adam; Castro-Marrero, Jesús; Levine, Susan M.; Hanson, Maureen R. (2020-10-12). "Cytokine profiling of extracellular vesicles isolated from plasma in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: a pilot study". Journal of Translational Medicine. 18 (1): 387. doi:10.1186/s12967-020-02560-0. ISSN 1479-5876. PMC 7552484. PMID 33046133.
  24. ^ Mandarano, Alexandra H.; Maya, Jessica; Giloteaux, Ludovic; Peterson, Daniel L.; Maynard, Marco; Gottschalk, C. Gunnar; Hanson, Maureen R. (2020-02-10). "Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome patients exhibit altered T cell metabolism and cytokine associations". Journal of Clinical Investigation. 130 (3): 1491–1505. doi:10.1172/JCI132185. ISSN 0021-9738. PMC 7269566. PMID 31830003.
  25. ^ "New Members". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  26. ^ "2021 NAS Election". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  27. ^ Kronfeld, Shoshana (2017-03-28). "Announcing the 2017 ASPB Award Winners". Plant Science Today. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  28. ^ "CALS Research and Extension Awards". CALS. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  29. ^ "Excellence in Faculty Service". CALS. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  30. ^ Ramanujan, Krishna (2006-09-05). "Plant biologists Maureen Hanson and Charles Stewart reap major awards for their research". Cornell Chronicle.
  31. ^