“However many ways there may be of being alive, there are vastly more ways of being dead.” — Richard Dawkins

Josef D. Franke

Cell Biology

Ph.D. – Duke University, 2005
B.S. – Oregon State University, 1999

Department of Biology
Creighton University
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178-0103
Office: Hixson-Lied 403

Courses Offered

  • BIO 202 – General Biology: Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • BIO 206 – General Biology Laboratory: Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • BIO 362 – Cell Structure and Function

Research Interests

Our lab studies the Planctomycete bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus, which is of interest to evolutionary cell biologists. G. obscuriglobus, like other Planctomycetes, has intriguing cell morphological and molecular signatures not found in most bacteria. For G. obscuriglobus, these include cell division by budding (instead of binary fission), the presence of complex intracellular membranes, spatially separated transcription and translation, the ability to internalize fully-folded proteins (virtually all other bacteria unfold proteins during internalization), and the ability to synthesize sterols (most bacteria use related molecules called hopenoids, instead of sterols). G. obscuriglobus also lack common bacterial cytoskeletal elements used in cell division (e.g., FtsZ and MreB). Our research is focused on better understanding the cellular and genetic basis for some of these unique cell biological features. In order to answer these questions about this organism we also develop techniques and modify methodologies.

Scholarly Works


Franke JD, Braverman AL, Cunningham AM, Eberhard EE, and Perry GA. 2020. Erythrosin B: a versatile colorimetric and fluorescent vital dye for bacteria. Biotechniques 68: 7-13. DOI: 10.2144/btn-2019-0066

Gudde LR, Hulce M, Largen AH, and Franke JD. 2019. Sterol synthesis is essential for viability in the planctomycete bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus. FEMS Microbiology Letters 366 3. DOI:10.1093/femsle/fnz019

Franke, JD, Blomberg WR, Todd RT, Thomas RW, and Selmecki AM. 2018. Assembly of a complete genome sequence for Gemmata obscuriglobus reveals a novel prokaryotic rRNA operon gene architecture. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology 111 11:2095-2105. DOI:10.1007/s10482-018-1102-0

Mishek, HP, Stock SA, Florick JDE, Blomberg WR, and Franke JD. 2018. Development of a chemically-defined minimal medium for studies on growth and protein uptake of Gemmata obscuriglobus. Journal of Microbiological Methods 145:40-46. DOI:10.1016/j.mimet.2017.12.010

Wang Y, Telmer CT, Schmidt BF, Franke JD, Ort S, Arndt-Jovin DJ and Bruchez, MP. Fluorogen activating protein-affibody probes: Modular, no-wash measurement of epidermal growth factor receptors. Bioconjugate Chemistry. 2015 26(1): 137-144. DOI: 10.1021/bc500525b

Sampathkumar P, Kim SJ, Manglicmot D, Bain KT, Gilmore J, Gheyi T, Phillips J, Pieper U, Fernandez-Martinez J, Franke JD, Matsui T, Tsuruta H, Atwell S, Thompson DA, Emtage JS, Wasserman SR, Rout MP, Sali A, Sauder JM, Almo SC, Burley SK. Atomic structure of the nuclear pore complex targeting domain of a Nup116 homologue from the yeast, Candida glabrata. Proteins. 2012. 80(8):2110-6. PMID: 22544723

Fernandez-Martinez J, Phillips J, Sekedat MD, Diaz-Avalos R, Velazquez-Muriel J, Franke JD, Williams R, Stokes DL, Chait BT, Sali A, Rout MP. Structure-function mapping of a heptameric module in the nuclear pore complex. Journal of Cell Biology. 2012 Feb 20;196(4):419-34. PMID: 22331846

Sampathkumar P, Gheyi T, Miller SA, Bain KT, Dickey M, Bonanno JB, Kim SJ, Phillips J, Pieper U, Fernandez-Martinez J, Franke JD, Martel A, Tsuruta H, Atwell S, Thompson DA, Emtage JS, Wasserman SR, Rout MP, Sali A, Sauder JM, Burley SK. Structure of the C-terminal domain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Nup133, a component of the nuclear pore complex. Proteins. 2011 May;79(5):1672-7. PMID: 21365675

Twist KA, Husnain SI, Franke JD, Jain D, Campbell EA, Nickels BE, Thomas MS, Darst SA, Westblade LF. A novel method for the production of in vivo-assembled, recombinant Escherichia coli RNA polymerase lacking the α C-terminal domain. Protein Science. 2011 20(6):986-95. PMID: 21416542

Franke JD, Montague RA and Kiehart DP. Nonmuscle myosin II is required for cell proliferation, cell sheet adhesion and wing hair morphology during wing morphogenesis. Developmental Biology. 2010 Sep 15;345(2):117-32. PMID: 20599890.

Lonhienne TG, Sagulenko E, Webb RI, Lee KC, Franke J, Devos DP, Nouwens A, Carroll BJ, Fuerst JA. Endocytosis-like protein uptake in the bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2010 Jul 20;107(29):12883-8. PMID: 20566852.

Sampathkumar P, Ozyurt SA, Do J, Bain KT, Dickey M, Rodgers LA, Gheyi T, Sali A, Kim SJ, Phillips J, Pieper U, Fernandez-Martinez J, Franke JD, Martel A, Tsuruta H, Atwell S, Thompson DA, Emtage JS, Wasserman SR, Rout MP, Sauder JM, Burley SK. Structures of the autoproteolytic domain from the Saccharomyces cerevisiae nuclear pore complex component, Nup145. Proteins. 2010 Jun;78(8):1992-8. PMID: 20310066.

Franke, JD. Approaches for using animal models to identify loci that genetically interact with human disease-causing point mutations. In Vitro Mutagenesis Protocols (3rd Edition) 2010, 634:203-213. PMID 20676986.

Santarella-Mellwig R, Franke J, Jaedicke A, Gorjanacz M, Bauer U, Budd A, Mattaj IW, Devos DP. The compartmentalized bacteria of the planctomycetes-verrucomicrobia-chlamydiae superphylum have membrane coat-like proteins. PLoS Biology. 2010 Jan 19;8(1):e1000281. PMID: 20087413.

Franke JD, Montague RA, Rickoll WL and Daniel P. Kiehart. An MYH9 Human Disease Model in Flies: site-directed mutagenesis of the Drosophila nonmuscle myosin II results in hypomorphic alleles with dominant character. Human Molecular Genetics. 2007 Dec. 15; 16(24): 3160-3173. PMID: 17901043.

Franke JD, Boury AL, Gerald NJ and Kiehart DP. Native nonmuscle myosin II stability and light chain binding in Drosophila melanogaster. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton. 2006 Aug 17; 63(10):604-622. PMID: 16917818.

Franke JD, Montague RA, Kiehart DP. Nonmuscle myosin II generates forces that transmit tension and drive contraction in multiple tissues during dorsal closure. Current Biology. 2005 Dec 24; 15(24):2208-21. PMID: 16360683.

Todi S, Franke JD, Kiehart DP, Eberl D. Myosin VIIA defects, which underlie the Usher 1B syndrome in humans, lead to deafness in Drosophila. Current Biology. 2005 May 10;15(9):862-8. PMID: 15886106.

Franke JD, Dong F, Rickoll WL, Kelley MJ, Kiehart DP. Rod mutations associated with MYH9-related disorders disrupt nonmuscle myosin-IIA assembly. Blood. 2005 Jan 1;105(1):161-9. PMID: 15339844.

Kiehart DP, Franke JD, Chee MK, Montague RA, Chen TL, Roote J, Ashburner M. Genetics. Drosophila crinkled, mutations of which disrupt morphogenesis and cause lethality, encodes fly myosin VIIA. 2004 Nov;168(3):1337-52. PMID: 15579689.

Kiehart DP and Franke, JD. Actin dynamics: the arp2/3 complex branches out. Current Biology. 2002 Aug 20;12(16):R557-9. PMID: 12194837