Karen S. Browning

  • Professor
  • Molecular Biosciences
Profile image of Karen S. Browning

Contact Information


The Browning lab is 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 they are using a variety of methods (genetic knockouts, gene silencing, DNA arrays, etc.) to discover the function of this novel initiation factor. They 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. The lab is 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 their studies they 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.

Research Areas

  • Molecular Biology or Genetics

Fields of Interest

  • Molecular Biology, Genetics & Genomics
  • Plant Biology

Centers and Institutes

  • Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Graduate Programs


  • Postdoctoral, MIT (1980-82)
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois (1980)
  • B.S., University of Texas at Austin (1975)