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Washington State University Molecular Plant Sciences

John Browse

John Browse

Regents’ Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Plant Sciences, Fellow of the Institute of Biological Chemistry. Ph.D. 1978, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

John Browse.

Research Interests

Highly unsaturated lipid molecules constitute approximately 50% of the hydrophobic membrane barriers, which delineate the compartments of plant cells, and they are major components of the light harvesting membranes of chloroplasts. Many lines of evidence indicate that these lipids are critically important for many membrane functions and, thus, for the proper growth and development of plants. In addition, lipid oils are a major form of carbon storage in seeds, and these vegetable oils have many commercial applications.

The research programs in my laboratory encompass a diverse set of projects that have at their base our investigation of the biosynthesis and function of membrane and seed-storage lipids in plants using Arabidopsis as a model. These projects include the isolation and characterization of genes that control the elongation, desaturation or other modifications of fatty acids. These genes have been used to produce transgenic plants with altered membrane compositions or improved vegetable oils.

We have several research projects that focus on the roles of membrane lipids in the cell biology and physiology of plants using a large number of mutants with alterations in the lipid composition of their membranes. In addition, our isolation of jasmonate-deficient and jasmonate-responsive mutants of Arabidopsis has allowed us to make new discoveries about the involvement of jasmonate in pollen development, insect defense and non-host resistance against fungal pathogens. These discoveries have wide implications for plant biology in areas ranging from hybrid breeding to crop protection.


Selected Publications

Wayne LL, Wallis JG, Kumar R, Markham JE and Browse J. 2013 Cytochrome b5 Reductase Encoded by CBR1 Is Essential for a Functional Male Gametophyte in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. Aug 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Bhosale R, Jewell JB, Hollunder J, Koo AJ, Vuylsteke M, Michoel T, Hilson P, Goossens A, Howe GA, Browse J and Maere S. 2013 Predicting Gene Function from Uncontrolled Expression Variation among Individual Wild-Type Arabidopsis Plants. Plant Cell. Aug 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Bates PD, Fatihi A, Snapp AR, Carlsson AS, Browse J, Lu C. 2012 Acyl editing and headgroup exchange are the major mechanisms that direct polyunsaturated fatty acid flux into triacylglycerols. Plant Physiol. 160:1530-9.

Dahmen JL, Olsen R, Fahy D, Wallis JG, Browse J. 2013   Cytochrome b5 coexpression increases Tetrahymena thermophila Δ6 fatty acid desaturase activity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Eukaryot Cell.12:923-31.

Fahy D, Scheer B, Wallis JG, Browse J.  2013  Reducing saturated fatty acids in Arabidopsis seeds by expression of a Caenorhabditis elegans 16:0-specific desaturase.  Plant Biotechnol J. 11:480-9.

Foster, J., Kim, H.U., Nakata, P.A. and Browse, J.  2012  A Previously Unknown Oxalyl-CoA Synthetase Is Important for Oxalate Catabolism in Arabidopsis.  The Plant Cell   4:1217-1229.

Bates, P. and Browse, J.  2011  The Pathway of Triacylglycerol Synthesis through Phosphatidylcholine in Arabidopsis Produces a Bottleneck for the Accumulation of Unusual Fatty Acids in Transgenic Seeds.   The Plant Journal.

Chen, H., Kim, H.U., Weng, H. and Browse, J.   2011    Malonyl-CoA Synthetase, Encoded by ACYL ACTIVATING ENZYME13, Is Essential for Growth and Development of Arabidopsis.  The Plant Cell.

Sheard, L.B., Tan, X., Mao, H., Withers, J., Nissan, G.B., Hinds, T., Hsu, F.-F., Sharon, M., Browse, J., He, S.Y., Rizo-Rey, J., Howe, G. and Zheng, N. 2010 Mechanism of Jasmonate Recognition by an Inositol Phosphate-potentiated COI1-JAZ Co-receptor. Nature 468: 400-405.

Wallis, J.G. and Browse, J. 2010 Lipid Biochemists Salute the Genome. Plant J. 61:1092-1106.

Kim, H.U., Vijayan, P., Carlsson, A.S., Barkan, L. and Browse, J. 2010 A Mutation in the LPAT1 Gene Suppresses the Sensitivity of fab1 Plants to Low Temperature. Plant Physiol. 153:1135-1143.

Browse, J. 2009 Jasmonate Passes Muster: A Receptor and Targets for the Defense Hormone. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 60:183-205.

Lu, C., Xin, Z., Ren, Z., Miquel, M., Browse, J. 2009 An Enzyme Regulating Triacylglycerol Composition is Encoded by the ROD1 Gene of Arabidopsis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106:18837-18842.

Thines, B., Katsir, L., Melotto, M., Niu, Y., Mandaokar, A., Liu, G., Nomura, K., He, S.Y., Howe, G.A. and Browse, J. 2007 JAZ Repressor Proteins are Targets of SCFCOI1 During Jasmonate Signaling. Nature 448:661-665.

Lu, C., Fulda, M., Wallis, J.G. and Browse, J. 2006 A High-Throughput Screen for Genes from Castor that Boost Hydroxy Fatty Acid Accumulation in Seed Oils of Transgenic Arabidopsis. Plant J. 45:847-856.

Mandaokar, A., Thines, B., Shin, B., Lange, B.M., Choi, G., Koo, Y.J., Yoo, Y.J., Choi, Y.D., Choi, G. and Browse, J. 2006 Transcriptional Regulators of Stamen Development in Arabidopsis Identified by Transcriptional Profiling. Plant J. 46:9984-1008.

Barkan, L., Vijayan, P., Carlsson, A.S., Mekhedov, S. and Browse, J. 2006 A Suppressor of fab1 Challenges Hypotheses on the Role of Thylakoid Unsaturation in Photosynthetic Function. Plant Physiol. 141:1012-1020.

Schnurr, J., Shockey, J. and Browse, J. 2004 The Acyl-Coenzyme A Synthetase Encoded by LACS2 is Essential for Normal Cuticle Development in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 16:629-642.

Metz, J. G., Roessler, P., Facciotti, D., Levering, C., Dittrich, F., Lassner, M., Valentine, R., Lardizabal, K., Domergue, F., Yamada, A., Yazawa, K., Knauf, V., and Browse, J. 2001 Production of polyunsaturated fatty acids by polyketide synthases in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes.  Science 293:290-3.