William Picking

William Picking

  • Foundation Distinguished Professor
  • Director, Kansas Vaccine Institute
  • Director, Higuchi Biosciences Center
  • School of Pharmacy - Pharmaceutical Chemistry
785-864-5974
Office
Multidisciplinary Research Building (MRB), Room 320-B
University of Kansas
2030 Becker Drive
Lawrence, KS, 66047

Education

  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Chemistry), University of Texas at Austin
  • Ph.D., Microbiology, Kansas University
  • B.S., Microbiology, Kansas State University

Research Overview

The Picking laboratory explores the molecular mechanisms by which enteric bacterial pathogens cause disease. More specifically, we examine the protein secretion systems used by important bacterial pathogens to subvert normal host cell behavior. We study these proteins in terms of their structure, function, and potential interactions with host cells.

Type III secretion system-mediated invasion of epithelial cells by Shigella

Gastrointestinal illnesses are a serious worldwide public health problem and Shigella flexneri is an important agent of infectious diarrhea. S. flexneri is a gram negative enteric bacterium that breaches the colonic epithelium via M cells to come into contact with subepithelial macrophages that attack the bacterium; however, S. flexneri escapes being killed killing by inducing macrophage apoptosis. These events provide S. flexneri with access to the basal region of the epithelial layer where it invades the epithelial cells. The resulting cytokine responses promote PMN infiltration and evoke severe localized inflammation.

S. flexneri invasion of epithelial cells is characterized by induced actin polymerization within the host cell at the point of pathogen contact. Cytoskeletal rearrangements lead to the formation of filopodia that coalesce to form membrane ruffles that surround the pathogen and trap it in a membrane-bound vacuole. Genes required for the S. flexneri invasive phenotype include the ipa genes, which encode two secreted “translocator proteins” called invasion plasmid antigens (Ipa) B and C, along with IpaD which serves as a controlling agent in type III secretion (T3S). Other required components of the Shigella T3S apparatus are encoded by the mix/spa genes, which include a “needle protein” called MxiH. For Shigella, the Ipa proteins are the major targets of the host immune response and they are therefore targets for developing new methods of preventing shigellosis.

In addition to studying the pathogenesis of Shigella spp., my group also explores protein structure function relationships for T3S proteins from other pathogens such as Salmonella spp., Burkholderia pseudomallei, Yersinia spp. and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

 

Research Interests

  • Vaccines
  • Pathogenic Microbiology
  • Bacteriology

Publications

Selected Publications

Please see Dr. Picking's publication list from PubMed:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=picking+wd.


Events
2nd among all schools of pharmacy in National Institutes of Health funding
Brings more than $20 million in external funding into the state each year
7 of 19 cancer drugs formulated through the National Cancer Institute were developed at the KU School of Pharmacy
3,000 free flu shots given to Kansans in need during the past 5 years
4,000 living alumni, 63 percent of them living and working in Kansas
KU pharmacists practice in 95 of Kansas’ 105 counties
20th among public schools of pharmacy.
—U.S. News & World Report
$20.2 million NIH research grant earned by Distinguished Professor Jeff Aubé was 2nd largest in Kansas history
100 percent placement after graduation for KU Pharm.D. students
Established in 1885 as the 1st professional program at KU