Irving Boime, PhD

Professor of Developmental Biology

Research interests

The placental hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (CG) and the pituitary hormones lutropin (LH), follitropin (FSH) and thyrotropin (TSH) are a family of heterodimeric glycoproteins that share a common alpha subunit but differ in their hormone-specific subunits. One or more of these hormones is essential for gonadal development and maintaining pregnancy and thyroid function.

Our laboratory is focused on structure-function studies. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we are studying the structural determinants that govern the unique post-translational modifications of the related placental and pituitary glycoprotein hormones. These hormones undergo specific modifications and have unique biologic activities. Together with DNA-mediated transfection techniques, monoclonal antibody screening and protein and carbohydrate characterization, we can determine:

  1. The region in the hormone associated with unique biologic activity
  2. The region critical for subunit assembly; and
  3. Disulfide bonds for folding of these hormones and the sequences critical for the differential sorting of the pituitary hormones.

Studies are also underway to determine the ligand determinants which are critical for signal transduction in vivo, as well as dissecting the structure of the gonadal receptors associated with the biological action of these hormones. Such information has been useful for designing clinically useful agents for treating infertility.  A major focus of the laboratory is elucidating the epitopes that govern the differential sorting of these hormones in unique pituitary secretion pathways.

Education

St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Louis, MO B.S. 1964 Pharmacology

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN M.S. 1966 Pharmacology

Washington University, St. Louis, MO Ph.D. 1970 Pharmacology

Academic Positions

Professor, Departments of Pharmacology and Obstetrics/Gynecology, Washington University School of Medicine, 1981 – present

Associate Professor, Departments of Pharmacology and Obstetrics/Gynecology, Washington University School of Medicine, 1977 – 1981

Assistant Professor, Departments of Pharmacology and Obstetrics/Gynecology, Washington University School of Medicine, 1972 – 1977

Postdoctoral Fellow of the American Cancer Society in the laboratory of Dr. Philip


Selected publications

See a complete list of Dr. Boime’s publications »