William L. Poteat Professor of Biology
B.S. Carson-Newman College
Ph.D. University of Tennessee
203A Winston Hall
Areas of Interest
Immunobiology of Host-Parasite Relationships
Of the approximately 6300 species of amphibians, it is thought that one-third of these are in danger of extinction. As many as 100 may already be extinct. Most of the declines and extinctions can be attributed, at least in part, to a very unusual fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Infection with Bd results in a condition known as chytridiomycosis.
Bd is a parasitic fungus that only infects the keratinized skin of amphibians and was first identified in the late 1990s but has been found in preserved amphibian specimens from South Africa from as early as 1938. Recent evidence suggests that amphibian mortality correlates with the disrupted transport of electrolytes across the skin, thereby inducing asystolic cardiac arrest as the result of decreased plasma sodium and potassium concentrations. Due to its recent discovery, basic biological characteristics of Bd have not been studied to the extent needed to fully understand chytridiomycosis.
In our lab we are examining the developmental stages of Bd under culture conditions to identify stage-specific proteins and the potential functions of these proteins in the invasion of the keratinized skin of amphibians. Using various approaches, we are also examining the means by which the fungus adheres to the skin of amphibians to initiate invasion of the skin and underlying tissues.
LR Friesen and RE Kuhn. 2012. Fluorescent microscopy of viable Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Journal of Parasitology 98:509-512.
JR Aldridge, EC Johnson, and RE Kuhn. 2010. CpG stimulates protective immunity in Balb/cJ mice infected with larval Taenia crassiseps. Journal of Parasitology 96:920-928.
TJ Poorten, and RE Kuhn. 2008. Maternal transfer of antibodies to eggs in Xenopus laevis. Developmental and Comparative Immunology 33:171:175.
RE Kuhn. 2007. We are scientists but we are in the people business. Journal of Parasitology 93:1263-1265
CL Rogers-Lowery, RV Dimock, Jr., and RE Kuhn. 2007. Antibody response of bluegill sunfish during development of acquired resistance against the larvae of the freshwater mussel Utterbackia imbecillus. Comparative and Developmental Immunology 31:143-155.
JR Aldridge, M. Jennett, and RE Kuhn. 2006. Uptake and secretion of host proteins by Taenia crassiceps metacestodes. Journal of Parasitology 92:1101-1102.
JR Aldridge, M. Jennett, and RE Kuhn. 2006. Balb/cJ male mice do not feminize after infection with larval Taenia crassiceps. Journal of Parasitology 93:190-192.
ME Everhart, RE Kuhn, and DA Zelmer. 2004. Infrapopulation dynamics of a wild strain of Taenia crassiceps (WFU)(Cestoda:Taeniidae) in Balb/c mice. Journal of Parasitology 90:79-84.
K Willms, l Robert, JA Jimenez, M Everhart, and RE Kuhn. 2004. Ultrastructure of spermiogenesis and the spermatozoon in Taenia crassiceps strobilae WFU strain (Cestoda, Cyclophyllidea, Taeniidae) from golden hamsters. Parasitology Research 93:262-7.
SA Toenjes and RE Kuhn. 2003. The initial immune response during experimental cysticercosis is a mixed Th1/Th2-type response. Parasitology Research 89:407-413.