Christian Brown

AlbaNova University Center, Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden

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Publications (5)32.5 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The critical role of chitin synthases in oomycete hyphal tip growth has been established. A microtubule interacting and trafficking (MIT) domain was discovered in the chitin synthases of the oomycete model organism, Saprolegnia monoica. MIT domains have been identified in diverse proteins and may play a role in intracellular trafficking. The structure of the Saprolegnia monoica chitin synthase 1 (SmChs1) MIT domain has been recently determined by our group. However, although our in vitro assay identified increased strength in interactions between the MIT domain and phosphatidic acid (PA) relative to other phospholipids including phosphocholine (PC), the mechanism used by the MIT domain remains unknown. In this work, the adsorption behavior of the SmChs1 MIT domain on the POPA and POPC membranes was systematically investigated by molecular dynamics simulations. Our results indicate that the MIT domain can adsorb onto the tested membranes in varying orientations. Interestingly, due to the specific interactions between MIT residues and lipid molecules, the binding affinity with the POPA membrane is much higher than that of POPC membrane. A binding hotspot, which is critical for the adsorption of the MIT domain onto the POPA membrane, was also identified. The lower binding affinity on the POPC membrane can be attributed to the self-saturated membrane surface, which is unfavorable for hydrogen-bond and electrostatic interactions. The present study provides insight into the absorption profile of SmChs1 and additionally has the potential to improve our understanding of other proteins containing MIT domains as well.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
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    ABSTRACT: An environmentally friendly approach was implemented for the production of nanocomposites with bactericidal activity, using bacterial cellulose (BC) nanofibers and chitin nanocrystals (ChNCs). The antibacterial activity of ChNCs prepared by acid hydrolysis, TEMPO-mediated oxidation or partial deacetylation of α-chitin powder was assessed and the structure of the ChNC nanoparticles was characterized by X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, and solid-state 13C-NMR. The partially deacetylated ChNCs (D-ChNC) showed the strongest antibacterial activity, with 99 ± 1% inhibition of bacterial growth compared to control samples. Nanocomposites were prepared from BC nanofibers and D-ChNC by (i) in situ biosynthesis with the addition of D-ChNC nanoparticles in the culture medium of Acetobacter aceti, and (ii) post-modification by mixing D-ChNC with disintegrated BC in an aqueous suspension. The structure and mechanical properties of the BC/D-ChNC nanocomposites were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, elemental analysis, field-emission scanning electron microscopy, and an Instron universal testing machine. The bactericidal activity of the nanocomposites increased with the D-ChNC content, with a reduction in bacterial growth by 3.0 log units when the D-ChNC content was 50%. D-ChNC nanoparticles have great potential as substitutes for unfriendly antimicrobial compounds such as heavy metal nanoparticles and synthetic polymers to introduce antibacterial properties to cellulosic materials.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Green Chemistry
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An environmentally friendly approach was implemented for the production of nanocomposites with bactericidal activity, using bacterial cellulose (BC) nanofibers and chitin nanocrystals (ChNCs). The antibacterial activity of ChNCs prepared by acid hydrolysis, TEMPO-mediated oxidation or partial deacetylation of α-chitin powder was assessed and the structure of the ChNC nanoparticles was characterized by X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, and solid-state 13C-NMR. The partially deacetylated ChNCs (D-ChNC) showed the strongest antibacterial activity, with 99 ± 1% inhibition of bacterial growth compared to control samples. Nanocomposites were prepared from BC nanofibers and D-ChNC by (i) in situ biosynthesis with the addition of D-ChNC nanoparticles in the culture medium of Acetobacter aceti, and (ii) post-modification by mixing D-ChNC with disintegrated BC in an aqueous suspension. The structure and mechanical properties of the BC/D-ChNC nanocomposites were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, elemental analysis, field-emission scanning electron microscopy, and an Instron universal testing machine. The bactericidal activity of the nanocomposites increased with the D-ChNC content, with a reduction in bacterial growth by 3.0 log units when the D-ChNC content was 50%. D-ChNC nanoparticles have great potential as substitutes for unfriendly antimicrobial compounds such as heavy metal nanoparticles and synthetic polymers to introduce antibacterial properties to cellulosic materials.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Green Chemistry
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    Christian Brown · Felicia Leijon · Vincent Bulone
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    ABSTRACT: Most of the glycosyltransferases (GTs) that catalyze the formation of plant cell wall carbohydrates remain to be biochemically characterized. This can be achieved only if specific assays are available for these enzymes. Here we present a protocol for in vitro assays of processive and nonprocessive membrane-bound GTs. The assays are either based on the use of radioactive nucleotide sugars (NDP sugars; e.g., UDP-[U-(14)C]glucose) and the quantification of the radiolabeled monosaccharides incorporated into soluble or insoluble carbohydrates, or on the coupling of the GT reaction with that of pyruvate kinase (PK) and the oxidation of NADH by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). The radiometric assays are more suitable for exploratory work on poorly characterized enzymes, whereas the spectrophotometric assays require the availability of highly enriched GTs. Both assays can be performed within 1 d, depending on the number of fractions to be assayed or reaction mixtures to be tested.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Nature Protocol
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    ABSTRACT: Some oomycetes, for instance Saprolegnia parasitica, are severe fish pathogens that cause important economic losses worldwide. Cellulose biosynthesis is a vital process for this class of microorganisms, but the corresponding molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Of all cellulose synthesizing enzymes known, only some oomycete cellulose synthases contain a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain. Some human PH domains bind specifically to phosphoinositides, but most PH domains bind phospholipids in a non-specific manner. In addition, some PH domains interact with various proteins. Here we have investigated the function of the PH domain of cellulose synthase 2 from the oomycete Saprolegnia monoica (SmCesA2), a species closely related to S. parasitica. The SmCesA2 PH domain is similar to the C-terminal PH domain of the human protein TAPP1. It binds in vitro to phosphoinositides, F-actin and microtubules, and co-localizes with F-actin in vivo. Our results suggest a role of the SmCesA2 PH domain in the regulation, trafficking and/or targeting of the cell wall synthesizing enzyme.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications