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Karen S Browning

Professor, Professor Emeritus
Molecular Biosciences

Mechanism And Regulation Of Eukaryotic Protein Synthesis. My research focuses on the initiation of protein synthesis in higher plants.


Phone: 512-471-4562

Office Location

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Post-doctoral, MIT (1980-82)

Ph.D., University of Illinois (1980)

B.S., University of Texas, Austin (1975)


Mechanism And Regulation Of Eukaryotic Protein Synthesis

We are seeking a molecular description of the process in which initiation factors (eIF4A, eIF4B, eIF4F, eIF3, eIF2 and PABP) select, prepare and bind messenger RNA to the 40S ribosome. Plants have a unique second form of eIF4F (eIFiso4F), and we are using a variety of methods (genetic knockouts, gene silencing, DNA arrays, etc.) to discover the function of this novel initiation factor. We are also interested in the features of messenger RNAs that make some messenger RNAs translate more efficiently than others and why plants need two forms of eIF4F.   We are using a variety of techniques to study the interactions of initiation factors with each other and with messenger RNAs (expression of cloned factors, site-directed mutagenesis, crystallography, yeast three-hybrid system, fluorescence, etc.). From our studies we hope to gain a better understanding of the protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions that must occur for successful initiation of translation of a specific messenger RNA to occur.

Representative Publications

2017 Roberts R, Mayberry LK, Browning KS, Rakotondrafara AM. The Triticum Mosaic Virus 5' Leader Binds to Both eIF4G and eIFiso4G for Translation. PLoS One. 12(1):e0169602

2016 Bush MS, Pierrat O, Nibau C, Mikitova V, Zheng T, Corke FM, Vlachonasios K, Mayberry LK, Browning KS, Doonan JH. eIF4A RNA Helicase Associates with Cyclin-Dependent Protein Kinase A in Proliferating Cells and Is Modulated by Phosphorylation. Plant Physiol. 172(1):128-40

2016 Levins E, Tseng CY, Patrick RM, Mayberry LK, Cole N, Browning KS. Fusion proteins of Arabidopsis cap-binding proteins: Cautionary "tails" of woe. Translation (Austin). 4(2):e1257408

2015 Roberts R, Zhang J, Mayberry LK, Tatineni S, Browning KS, Rakotondrafara AM. A Unique 5' Translation Element Discovered in Triticum Mosaic Virus. J Virol. 89(24):12427-40

2015 Browning, K.S. and Bailey-Serres, J. Mechanisms of mRNA translation. Arabidopsis Book 13:e0176

2014 Patrick, R.M., Mayberry, L.K., Choy, G., Woodard, L.E., Liu, J.S., White, A., Mullen, R.A.,Tanavin, T.M., Latz, C.A. and Browning, K.S.  Two Arabidopsis thaliana loci encode novel eIF4E isoforms that are functionally distinct from the conserved plant eIF4E. Plant Phys 164: 1820-30

2014 Browning, K.S. Cytoplasm: Translational Apparatus. The Plant Sciences 2: 129-151

2013 O’Brien, J.P., Mayberry, L.K., Murphy, P.A., Browning, K.S. and Brodbelt, J.S.  Evaluating the Conformation and Binding Interface of Cap Binding Proteins and Complexes via Ultraviolet Photodissociation Mass Spectrometry. J Proteome Res. 12: 5867-77

2013 Nicholson BL, Zaslaver O, Mayberry LK, Browning KS, White KA., . Tombusvirus Y-shaped translational enhancer forms a complex with eIF4F and can be functionally replaced by heterologous translational enhancers., J Virol. 87:1872-83.

2012 Vasicek L, O'Brien JP, Browning KS, Tao Z, Liu HW, Brodbelt JS, Mapping Protein Surface Accessibility via an Electron Transfer Dissociation Selectively Cleavable Hydrazone Probe., Mol Cell Proteomics 11:O111.015826.

2012 Patrick RM and Browning KS, The eIF4F and eIFiso4F Complexes of Plants: An Evolutionary Perspective., Comp Funct Genomics 2012:287814.

2011 Mayberry LK, Allen ML, Nitka KR, Campbell L, Murphy PA, Browning KS, Plant cap-binding complexes eukaryotic initiation factors eIF4F and eIFiso4F: molecular specificity of subunit binding., J Biol Chem 286:42566-74.

2010 Lellis, A.D., Allen, M. L., Aertker, A.W., Tran, J.K., Hillis, D.M., Harbin, C.R., Caldwell, C., Gallie, D.R. and Browning, K.S, Deletion of the eIFiso4G subunit of the Arabidopsis eIFiso4F translation initiation complex impairs health and viability, Plant Mol. Bio. 74:249-63.

2009 Dennis MD, Person MD, Browning KS, Phosphorylation of plant translation initiation factors by CK2 enhances the in vitro interaction of multifactor complex components, J Biol Chem. 284:20615-28.

2009 Dennis MD, Browning KS, Differential phosphorylation of plant translation initiation factors by Arabidopsis thaliana CK2 holoenzymes, J Biol Chem. 284:20602-14.

2009 Mayberry LK, Allen ML, Dennis MD, Browning KS, Evidence for variation in the optimal translation initiation complex: plant eIF4B, eIF4F, and eIF(iso)4F differentially promote translation of mRNAs, Plant Physiol. 150:1844-54.

2007 Monzingo, A.F., Dhaliwal, S., Dutt-Chaudhuri, A., Lyon, A., Sadow, J., Hoffman, D.W., Robertus, J.D., and Browning, K.S., The Structure of Translation Initiation Factor eIF4E from Wheat Reveals a Novel Disulfide Bond, Plant. Physiology 143:1504-1518.

BCH339M--Structure and Function of Molecular Machines