Joseph R. Prohaska

Joseph ProhaskaProfessor Emeritus of Biochemistry



The focus of my research program is to understand the biochemical functions of copper and consequences of deficiency of this essential metal due to environmental or genetic factors. The laboratory's primary research approach involves nutritional biochemistry and molecular biology. My current research interests include:

  1. Investigation of the impact of dietary copper deficiency during early development on the central nervous system.
  2. Characterization of the impact of low intracellular copper on the expression of proteins that function as cuproenzymes and copper transporters.
  3. Evaluation of copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase (CCS) as potential molecular marker to assess nutritional copper status in humans.

My lab was funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Research Initiative from the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture.



  • Ph.D. Michigan State University, Biochemistry

Laboratory Personnel

  • Margaret Broderius, Assistant Scientist

Publications on PubMed 

Peer-Reviewed Manuscripts - Past Five Years

Yang, Y., Prohaska, J.R., Weisman, G.A., Gitlin, J.D. and Petris, M.J. (2012) Maternofetal and neonatal copper requirements revealed by enterocyte-specific deletion of the Menkes disease protein. Am. J. Physiol. 303: G1236-G1244.

Bastian, T.W., Anderson, J.A., Fretham, S.J., Prohaska, J.R., Georgieff, M. and Anderson, G.W. (2012) Fetal and neonatal iron deficiency reduces thyroid hormone-responsive gene mRNA levels in the neonatal rat hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Endocrinology 153: 5668-5680.

Prohaska, J.R. (2012) "Copper" in Present Knowledge in Nutrition, Tenth Edition (eds J. W. Erdman, I. A. Macdonald and S. H. Zeisel, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119946045.ch35).

Broderius, M., Mostad, E., and Prohaska, J.R. (2012) Suppressed hepcidin expression correlates with hypotransferrinemia in copper deficient rat pups but not dams.  Genes and Nutr. 7:405-414.

Prohaska, J.R., and Broderius, M. (2012) Copper deficiency has minimal impact on ferroportin expression or function. Biometals 25, 633-642.

Gletsu-Miller, N., Broderius, M., Frediani, J.K., Zhao, V.M., Griffith, D.P., Davis, Jr., S.S., Sweeney, J.F., Lin, E., Prohaska, J.R., Ziegler, T.R. (2012) Incidence and prevalence of copper deficiency following roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery. Int. J. Obesity 36:328-335.

Lassi, K.C. and Prohaska, J.R. (2012) Erythrocyte copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase is increased following marginal copper deficiency in adult and postweanling mice J. Nutr. 142: 292-7.

Donsante, A., Yi, L., Zerfas, P., Brinster, L., Sullivan, P., Goldstein, D.S., Prohaska, J., Centeno, J., Rushing, E. and Kaler, S.G.   (2011)  ATP7A gene addition to the choroid plexus results in long-term rescue of the lethal copper transport defect in a Menkes disease mouse model. Mol. Therapy 19:2114-2123.

Lassi, K.C. and Prohaska, J.R. (2011) Rapid alteration in rat red blood cell copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase after marginal copper deficiency and repletion. Nutr. Res. 31:698-706.

Bastian, T.W., Lassi, K.C, Anderson, G.W. and Prohaska, J.R. (2011) Maternal iron supplementation attenuates the impact of perinatal copper deficiency but does not eliminate hypotriiodothyroninemia nor prevent blunted sensorimotor movement following copper recovery. J. Nutr. Biochem. 22: 1084-1090.

Mostad, E.J. and Prohaska, J.R. (2011) GPI-Ceruloplasmin is expressed in multiple rodent organs and is markedly lower in spleen following dietary copper deficiency. Exp. Biol. Med. 236: 298-308.

Prohaska, J.R. (2011) Impact of copper limitation on expression and function of multicopper oxidases (ferroxidases). Adv. Nutr. 2:89-95.

Bastian, T.W., Prohaska, J.R., Georgieff, M., and Anderson, G.W. (2010) Perinatal iron and copper deficiencies alter neonatal rat circulating and brain thyroid hormone levels. Endocrinology 151:4055-4065.

Lyons, J.A., and Prohaska, J.R. (2010) Perinatal copper deficiency alters rat cerebellar purkinje cell size and distribution. Cerebellum 9:136-144.

Jenkitkasemwong, S., Broderius, M.A., Hyeyojng, N., Prohaska, J.R., and Knutson, M.D. (2010) Anemic copper-deficient rats, but not mice, display low hepcidin expression and high ferroportin levels. J. Nutr. 140:723-730.

Broderius, M.A., Mostad, E., Wendroth, K., and Prohaska, J.R. (2010) Levels of plasma ceruloplasmin protein are markedly lower following dietary copper deficiency in rodents. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. C. 151:473-479.

Collins, J., Prohaska, J.R., and Knutson, M.D. (2010) Metabolic crossroads of iron and copper. Nutr. Rev. 68:133-147.

Bousquet-Moore , D., Prohaska, J.R., Nillni, E.A., Czyzyk , T., Wetsel, W.C., Mains, R.E., and Eipper, B.A. (2010) Synergistic and compensatory interactions between dietary copper and the Peptidylglycine a-Amidating Monooxygenase (PAM) gene. Neurobiol. Dis. 37:130-140.

Broderius, M.A. and Prohaska, J.R. (2009) Differential impact of copper deficiency in rats on blood cuproproteins. Nutr. Res. 29:519-24.

Nelson, K.T. and Prohaska, J.R. (2009) Copper deficiency in rodents alters dopamine β-monooxygenase activity, mRNA, and protein level. Brit. J. Nutr. 102:18-28.

Gybina, A.A. and Prohaska, J.R. (2009) Augmented cerebellar lactate in copper deficient rat pups originates from both blood and cerebellum. Metabol. Brain Dis. 24:299-310.

Gybina, A.A., Tkac, I. and Prohaska, J.R. (2009) Copper deficiency alters the neurochemical profile of developing rat brain. Nutr. Neurosci. 12:114-122.

Gybina, A.A. and Prohaska, J.R. (2008) Fructose 2,6 bisphosphate is lower in copper deficient rat cerebellum despite higher phospho-AMP-activated protein kinase. Exp. Biol. Med. 233:1262-1270.

Pyatskowit, J.W. and Prohaska, J.R. (2008) Iron injection restores brain iron and hemoglobin deficits in perinatal copper deficient rats. J. Nutr. 138:1880-1886.

Prohaska, J.R. (2008) Role of copper transporters in copper homeostasis. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 88:826S-829S.

Pyatskowit, J.W. and Prohaska, J.R. (2008) Multiple mechanisms account for lower plasma iron in young copper deficient rats. Biometals 21:343-352.

Gybina, A.A. and Prohaska, J.R. (2008) Copper deficiency results in AMP-activated protein kinase activation and acetylCoA carboxylase phosphorylation in rat cerebellum. Brain Res. 1204:69-76.

Suazo , M., Olivares , F., Mendez, M.A., Pulgar, R., Prohaska, J.R., Arrendondo, M., Pizarro, F., Olivares, M., Araya, M., and González, M. (2008) CCS and SOD1 mRNA are reduced after copper supplementation in peripheral mononuclear cells of individuals with high serum ceruloplasmin concentration. J. Nutr. Biochem. 19:269-274 .

Pyatskowit, J.W. and Prohaska, J.R. (2008) Copper deficient rats and mice both develop anemia but only rats have lower plasma and brain iron levels. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. C. 147:316-323.  


Published Abstracts - Past Five Years

Prohaska, J.R., Broderius, M. (2013) AIN-76 and AIN-93 diets do not provide adequate iron for perinatal development. FASEB J. 27, 634.3.

Prohaska, J.R., Lassi, K., Broderius, M. (2012) Biomarker erythrocyte copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase (CCS) is higher following marginal copper deficiency. FASEB J. 26:641.4.

Prohaska, J.R., Mostad, E., Lassi, K., Jokinen, M. (2011) Splenic iron overload does not correlate with reduced expression of GPI-Ceruloplasmin following dietary copper deficiency. FASEB J. 25:238.2.

Bastian, T.W., Anderson, J.A., Fretham, S.J., Prohaska, J.R., Georgieff, M.K. Charging Hawk, A.K. and Anderson, G.W. (2011) Embryonic and neonatal iron deficiency impairs thyroid hormone-dependent gene transcription in the neonatal rat hippocampus and cerebral cortex. The Endocrine Society’s Annual Meeting. June.

Prohaska, J.R., Broderius, M., Mostad, E. and Jokinen, M. (2011) Holotransferrin dependent hepcidin expression is impacted by dietary copper deficiency in rodents. TEMA 14:49.

Prohaska, J.R., Broderius, M., Mostad, E. and Wendroth, K. (2010) Characterization of plasma ceruloplsmin activity and expression following dietary copper deficiency. FASEB J. 24:229.8.

Prohaska, J.R., and Gybina, A.A. (2009) In vivo proton NMR spectroscopy reveals an altered neurochemical profile in copper deficient rat brain. FASEB J. 23:231.7.

Jenkitkasemwong, S., Prohaska, J.R., and Knutson, M.D. (2009) Copper deficiency increases ferroportin expression in rats. FASEB J. 23:231.6.

Moore, D., Eipper, B.A., Prohaska, J.R., and Mains, R.M. (2009) Variations in dietary copper alter physiological and behavioral function. FASEB J. 23:231.5

Prohaska, J.R., and Walters, M. (2008) Copper-deficient rats exhibit no alterations in plasma or brain NO metabolites, 3-nitrotyrosine peptide abundance, or NOS mRNA expression. FASEB J. 22:443.1.

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