Biochemistry and Structural Biology  Back to Main

Faculty Detail    
Associate Professor
Campus Address SHEL 913 Zip 2182
Phone  (205) 975-8396
Other websites

Undergraduate  University of New Hampshire    1993  BS. Biochemistry 
Graduate  Brandeis University    2002  Ph.D. Biochemistry 
Fellowship  Baylor College of Medicine    2006  Postdoctoral Fellow, Biochemistry  

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Ctr for Clinical & Translational Sci Associate Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Comprehensive Neuroscience Center Associate Professor
Center  Neurology   Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute Associate Professor
Center  GL Ctr for Craniofacial, Oral, & Dental Disorders  GL Ctr for Craniofacial, Oral, & Dental Disorders Associate Professor
Center  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering Associate Professor
Center  Vision Sciences (Org-Ret)  Vision Science Research Center (Org-Ret) Associate Professor
Center  Ctr for Glial Bio in Med  Ctr for Glial Bio in Med Associate Professor
Primary  Neurobiology  Neurobiology Associate Professor
Secondary  Ophthalmology  Ophthalmology Associate Professor
Secondary  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology Associate Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Program 
Biochemistry and Structural Biology 
Cell, Molecular, & Developmental Biology 
Medical Scientist Training Program 
Neuroscience Graduate Program 

Biographical Sketch 
Alecia Gross earned a B.S. from the University of New Hampshire in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA in 2002. Prior to joining the UAB faculty in the Department of Vision Sciences in 2006, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)  WEAVR: Women in eye and vision research committee member, NIH/NEI Advocacy Committee member, Annual Meeting Program Planning Committee 
International Society for Eye Research (ISER) 

Research/Clinical Interest
GPCR trafficking in neurons and rhodopsin-mediated retinal degenerations
The research interests of the Gross Lab are mainly focused on the molecular mechanisms of retinal degenerations and photoreceptor membrane biogenesis; in particular, the molecular interactions necessary for formation of healthy photoreceptor disk membranes. Studies have focused on understanding those interactions that are defective when rhodopsin lacks the proper structure at its carboxy-terminus, as is the case in several of most forms of the blinding disease autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. Knock-in mice bearing rhodopsin carboxy-terminal mutations will be used and new ones constructed to aid in the detection of binding partners to the C-terminus of rhodopsin implicated in rhodopsin trafficking. Additionally, the Gross lab is aiming to uncover the molecular mechanisms of photoreceptor disk formation, in particular the differences between rod and cone photoreceptors as well as identifying roles of key proteins in the trafficking and gating of the modified cilia in photoreceptors.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Lewis WR*, Bales KL*, Revell DZ, Croyle MJ, Engle SE, Song CJ, Malarkey EB, Uytingco CR, Shan D, Antonellis PJ, Nagy TR, Kesterson RA, Mrug MM, Martens JR, Berbari NF, Gross AK*, Yoder BK*. Mks6 mutations reveal tissue- and cell type-specific roles for the cilia transition zone. FASEB J. 2019 Jan;33(1):1440-1455. doi: 10.1096/fj.201801149R. Epub 2018 Aug 22.
Bales KL, Ianov L, Kennedy AJ, Sweatt JD, Gross AK. Autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa rhodopsin mutant Q344X drives specific alterations in chromatin complex gene transcription. Mol Vis. 2018 Feb 15;24:153-164. eCollection 2018.  29463953 
Challa AK, Boitet ER, Turner AN, Johnson LW, Kennedy D, Downes ER, Hymer KM, Gross AK, Kesterson RA. Novel Hypomorphic Alleles of the Mouse Tyrosinase Gene Induced by CRISPR-Cas9 Nucleases Cause Non-Albino Pigmentation Phenotypes. PLoS One, 2016 May 25;11(5)e0155812.  27224051 
Rana T, Shinde VM, Starr CR, Kruglov AA, Boitet ER, Kotla P, Zolotukhin S, Gross AK, Goratyuk MS. An activated unfolded protein response promotes retinal degeneration and triggers an inflammatory response in the mouse retina. Cell Death and Disease 2014
Reish NJ, Boitet ER, Bales KL, Gross AK. Nucleotide bound to rab11a controls localization in rod cells but not interaction with rhodopsin. J Neuroscience 2014, 34(45): 14854-14863.  25378153 
Sandoval IM, Price BA, Chan F, Sammons JD, Gross AK, Wilson JH, Wensel TG. Abrupt onset of mutations in a developmentally regulated gene during terminal differentiation of post-mitotic photoreceptor neurons in mice. PLOS ONE 2014 Sep 29;9(9):e108135.  25264759 
Hollingsworth TJ and Gross AK. The Severe Autosomal Dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa Rhodopsin Mutant Ter349Glu Mislocalizes and Induces Rapid Rod Cell Death. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2013 Oct 4; 288 (40): 29047-29055.   23940033 
McAlear SD, Kraft TW, Gross AK. 2010 Rhodopsin mutations in congenital night blindness. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (10) 664:263-72.  20238025 
Budzynski E, Gross AK, McAlear SD, Peachey NS, Shukla M, He F, Edwards M, Won J, Hicks WL, Wensel TG, Naggert JK, Nishina PM. 2010 Mutations of the opsin gene (Y102H and I307N) lead to light induced degeneration of photoreceptors and constitutive activation of phototransduction in mice. The Journal of Biological Chemistry (10).  20207741 
Zeitz C*, Gross AK*, Leifert D, Kloeckeber-Gruissem B, McAlear SD, Lemke J, Neidhardt J, Berger W. 2008 Identification and functional characterization of a novel rhodopsin mutation associated with autosomal dominant CSNB. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (08) 49:4105-14. *indicates authors contributed equally.   18487375 
Gross AK, Decker G, Chan F, Sandoval IM, Wilson JH, Wensel TG. Defective development of photoreceptor membranes in a mouse model of recessive retinal degeneration. Vision Research. 2006 Dec;46(27):4510-8.
Wensel TG, Gross AK, Chan F, Sykoudis K, Wilson J. Rhodopsin-EGFP Knock-ins for Imaging Quantal Gene Alterations. Vision Research. 2005 Dec;45(28):3445-53.  16139321 
Madabushi S, Gross AK, Philippi A, Meng EC, Wensel TG, Lichtarge O. Evolutionary trace of G protein-coupled receptors reveals clusters of residues that determine global and class-specific functions. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2004 Feb 27 279(9):8126-32.  14660595 
Gross AK, Rao VR, Oprian DD. Characterization of rhodopsin congenital night blindness mutant T94I. Biochemistry. 2003 Feb 25;42(7):2009-15.  12590588 
Gross AK, Xie G, Oprian DD. Slow binding of retinal to rhodopsin mutants G90D and T94D. Biochemistry. 2003 Feb 25;42(7):2002-8.

Xie G, Gross AK, Oprian DD. An opsin mutant with increased thermal stability. Biochemistry. 2003 Feb 25;42(7):1995-2001.
Boitet ER, Reish NJ, Hubbard MG, Gross AK. NudC regulates photoreceptor disk morphogenesis and rhodopsin localization. FASEB Journal 2019 in press.   
Gross AK, Wang Q, Wensel TG. 2008 Regulation of photoresponses by phosphorylation. Chap. 6 in Barnstable C.J., Tombran-Tink, J., eds., Visual Transduction and Non-Visual Light Perception, Humana Press, Towtowa NJ pp. 125-140.

rhodopsin, autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa, GPCR trafficking, rab11, nudC, MKS proteins, NPHP proteins, BBS proteins, retinal degeneration, inflammatory response in retina, cilia, protein trafficking