John Richert, MD

Professor & Chair
Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Georgetown University Medical Center
NE303 Med-Dent Building
3900 Reservoir Road, NW
Washington, DC 20057 
Phone: 202 687-1513
Fax: 202 687-1513

Research Interests 

Multiple sclerosis

Research Summary

My lab studies immune cell gene expression and T cell immunology in multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease which most commonly affects pre-menopausal women. We used differential display in identical twins who are discordant for MS as an initial screen to identify genes that are differentially expressed in patients and controls. Among the genes identified by this procedure that are currently under evaluation, we have found that the transcription factor Sp3 is deficiently expressed in MS immune cells and two new genes with no homology to any known gene families are over-expressed in MS. Characterization of the new genes and study of the mechanisms by which each of these genes is abnormally expressed are under active investigation. We are also studying the T cell response to myelin basic protein (MBP), a putative autoantigen in MS, and are identifying and testing small organic molecules for their ability to block antigen presentation by MS-associated HLA molecules.

Representative Publications

  • Richert, J.R., Robinson, E.D., Camphausen, K., Martin, R., Voskuhl, R.R., Faerber, M.A., McFarland, H.F., Hurley, C.K.: Diversity of T cell receptor V-alpha, V-beta, and CDR3 gene utilization in the human response to myelin basic protein. Neurology 45:1919-1922, 1995.
  • Grekova, M., Robinson, E.D., Faerber, M., Katz, P., McFarland, H.F., Richert, J.R.: Deficient expression in multiple sclerosis of the inhibitory transcription factor Sp3 in mononuclear blood cells. Ann. Neurol. 40:108-112, 1996.
  • Grekova, M.C., Scherer, S.W., Trabb, J., Richert, J.R.: Localization of he human Sp3 gene to chromosome 7p14-p15.2. The lack of expression in multiple sclerosis does not reflect abnormal gene organization. J. Neuroimmunol. 106:214-219, 2000.
  • Hernandez, E.M., Johnson, A., Notario, V., Chen, A., Richert, J.R.: AUA as a translation initiation site in vitro for the human transcription factor Sp3. J. Biochem. Mol. Biol. 35:273-282, 2002.
  • Grekova, M.C., Salerno, K., Mikkilineni, R., Richert, J.R.: Sp3 expression in immune cells: A quantitative study. Lab. Invest. 82:131-138, 2002.