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Christopher Colbert

Structural Biology

Cellular processes responsible for life as we know it are dependent on metal atoms. Research in the Colbert Laboratory focuses on the molecular mechanisms of metal trafficking. Specifically, how do bacteria import and utilize iron in key cellular processes. Understanding these molecular mechanisms will further our knowledge of bacterial survival not only in the wild, but also during pathogenesis. We use a combination of structural (X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy) and biochemical techniques (protein chromatography, mutagenesis, spectroscopy, etc.) to address basic questions concerning the mechanisms by which proteins facilitate and regulate the import and utilization of iron in cells. This fundamental information will provide key information in designing not only novel therapeutics toward antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, but will also underlie our basic understanding of human diseases involved in erroneous metal trafficking.

Selected Publications

Jensen, JL, Balbo, A, Neau, DB, Chakravarthy, S, Zhao, H, Sinha, S, and Colbert, C.L*. (2015) Mechanistic implications of the unique structural features and dimerization of the cytoplasmic domain of the Pseudomonas sigma regulator, PupR.  Biochemistry, 54, 5867−5877. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.5b00826.

Jensen, J.L., Indurthi, V.S.K., Neau, D.B., Vetter, S.W., and Colbert C.L*. (2015) Structural insights into binding of the human Receptor for Advanced Glycation Endproducts by S100B, as revealed by an S100B:RAGE-derived peptide complex.  Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography, D71, 1176-1183.

Piya G., Mueller, E.N., Haas, H.K., Ghospurkar, P.L., Wilson, T.M., Jensen, J.L., Colbert, C.L., and Haring S.J.  (2015)  Characterization of the Interaction between Rfa1 and Rad24 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  PLoS ONE.  e0116512. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116512.  PMID: 25719602

Dunlap, T.B., Guo, H.F., Cook, E.C., Holbrook, E., Rumi-Masante, J., Lester, T.E., Colbert, C.L., Vander Kooi, C.W., and Creamer, T.P. (2014)  Stoichiometry of the calcineurin regulatory domain-calmodulin complex. Biochemistry. 53(36), 5779-90. doi: 10.1021/bi5004734. PMID: 25144868.

Su, M., Mei, Y., Sanishvili, R., Levine, B., Colbert, C.L. and Sinha, S. (2014) Targeting gamma-herpesvirus – mediated inhibition of autophagy. J. Biol. Chem. 289, 8029-40. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.515361. PMID: 24443581.

Mei, Y., Su, M., Soni, G., Salem, S., Colbert, C.L. & Sinha, S.C. (2013) Intrinsically disordered regions in autophagy proteins. Proteins. 82, 565-78. doi: 10.1002/prot.24424. PMID: 24115198

Yilmaz B, Bjorgaard J, Colbert C.L. Siegel JS, Köse ME. (2103) Effective solubilization of single-walled carbon nanotubes in THF using PEGylated corannulene dispersant. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 5, 3500-3. doi: 10.1021/am400442z. PMID: 23594364

Colbert, C.L.*, Agar, N.Y.R., Kumar, P., Chakko, M.N., Sinha, S.C., Powlowski, J.B., Eltis, L.D. & Bolin, J.T. Structural Characterization of Pandoraea pnomenusa B-356 Biphenyl Dioxygenase Reveals Features of Potent Polychlorinated Biphenyl-Degrading Enzymes. PloS ONE. 8, e52550 (2013).  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052550. PMID: 23308114

Colbert, C. L., Chai-Wan Kim , Young-Ah Moon , Lisa Henry , Maya Palnitkar , William McKean , Kevin Fitzgerald , Johann Deisenhofer, Jay Horton , Hyock Joo Kwon. (2010). The Crystal Structure of Spot14, a Modulator of Fatty Acid Synthesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107, 18820-18825.

Sinha, S. C., Colbert, C. L., Becker, N., and Levine, B. (2008).  Molecular mechanism of the inhibition of Beclin 1-dependent autophagy by the γ-herpesviridae. Autophagy 4, 989-997  (Cover)

Huang, Y., Baxter, R., Smith, B. S., Partch, C. L., Colbert, C. L., and Deisenhofer, J. (2006).  Crystal structure of cryptochrome 3 from Arabiopsis thaliana and its implications for photolyase activity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103, 17701-17706.

Colbert, C. L., Wu, Q., Erbel, P. J. A., Gardner, K. H., and Deisenhofer, J. (2006).  Mechanism of substrate specificity in Bacillus subtilis ResA, a thioredoxin-like protein involved in cytochrome c maturation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103, 4410-4415.

Couture, M. M.-J., Colbert, C. L., Babini, E., Rosell, F. I., Mauk, A. G., Bolin, J. T., and Eltis L. D. (2001). Characterization of BphF, a Rieske-Type Ferrodoxin with a Low Reduction Potential. Biochemistry 40, 84-92.

Colbert, C. L., Couture, M. M.-J., Eltis, L. D., and Bolin, J. T. (2000). A Cluster Exposed: Structure of the Rieske Ferrodoxin from Biphenyl Dioxygenase and the Redox Properties of Rieske Fe-S Proteins. Structure 8, 1267-1278.

Imbeault, N. Y. R., Powlowski, J. B., Colbert, C. L., Bolin, J. T., and Eltis, L. D. (2000). Steady-state Kinetic Characterization and Crystallization of a PCB-Transforming Dioxygenase. J Biol Chem 275, 12430-12437.

Zauhar, R. J., Colbert, C. L., Morgan, R. S., and Welsh, W. (2000). Evidence for a Strong Sulfur-Aromatic Interaction Derived from Crystallographic Data. Biopolymers 53, 233-248.

Associate Professor

BS, Pennsylvania State University, 1993
PhD, Purdue University, 2000
Postdoctoral Fellow, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Office: Quentin Burdick Building 346

tel 701-231-7946
fax 701-231-8324


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