Nicholas J Cowan

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Nicholas Cowan

Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Contact Info

550 First Avenue
New York, NY 10016



1967-1970 — University of Oxford, England, PhD in Biochemistry, Graduate Education
1970-1973 — Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England, PostDoctoral Training

Research Summary

The final stage in the flow of information from encoded DNA to expressed proteins is the folding of each protein into its correct three-dimensional structure. In principle, such folding reactions can occur spontaneously because all the necessary information required to determine proper folding is contained within the primary amino acid sequence. However, under physiological conditions, constraints of temperature and the tendency of unfolded proteins to aggregate are such that many proteins must undergo facilitated folding via interaction with one or more protein complexes termed chaperonins. We are concerned with the mechanism whereby proteins in the eukaryotic cytosol, such as actin and tubulin, are folded via interaction with the cytoplasmic chaperonin, a heteromeric double toroid that provides a sequestered environment in which the unscrambling of aberrantly folded target proteins can occur. We are studying the nature of target proteins that interact with the chaperonin, the function of various cofactors that modulate the folding reaction, and the role of ATP hydrolysis in chaperonin-mediated folding.

Research Interests

Protein Folding in the Eukaryotic Cytosol

Mutations in TUBG1, DYNC1H1, KIF5C and KIF2A cause malformations of cortical development and microcephaly
Poirier, Karine; Lebrun, Nicolas; Broix, Loic; Tian, Guoling; Saillour, Yoann; Boscheron, Cecile; Parrini, Elena; Valence, Stephanie; Pierre, Benjamin Saint; Oger, Madison; Lacombe, Didier; Genevieve, David; Fontana, Elena; Darra, Franscesca; Cances, Claude; Barth, Magalie; Bonneau, Dominique; Bernadina, Bernardo Dalla; N'guyen, Sylvie; Gitiaux, Cyril; Parent, Philippe; des Portes, Vincent; Pedespan, Jean Michel; Legrez, Victoire; Castelnau-Ptakine, Laetitia; Nitschke, Patrick; Hieu, Thierry; Masson, Cecile; Zelenika, Diana; Andrieux, Annie; Francis, Fiona; Guerrini, Renzo; Cowan, Nicholas J; Bahi-Buisson, Nadia; Chelly, Jamel
2013-06-25; 1061-4036,Nature genetics - id: 394952, year: 2013 Journal Article

Tubulin-Specific Chaperones: Components of a Molecular Machine That Assembles the alpha/beta Heterodimer
Tian, Guoling; Cowan, Nicholas J
2013-09-02; 0091-679x,Methods in cell biology - id: 512962, year: 2013 Journal Article

Mutations in the beta-tubulin gene TUBB5 cause microcephaly with structural brain abnormalities
Breuss, Martin; Heng, Julian Ik-Tsen; Poirier, Karine; Tian, Guoling; Jaglin, Xavier Hubert; Qu, Zhengdong; Braun, Andreas; Gstrein, Thomas; Ngo, Linh; Haas, Matilda; Bahi-Buisson, Nadia; Moutard, Marie-Laure; Passemard, Sandrine; Verloes, Alain; Gressens, Pierre; Xie, Yunli; Robson, Kathryn J H; Rani, Deepa Selvi; Thangaraj, Kumarasamy; Clausen, Tim; Chelly, Jamel; Cowan, Nicholas Justin; Keays, David Anthony
2013-03-27; 2211-1247,Cell reports - id: 249192, year: 2012 Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Regulation of Androgen Receptor-Mediated Transcription by RPB5 Binding Protein URI/RMP
Mita, Paolo; Savas, Jeffrey N; Djouder, Nabil; Yates, John R 3rd; Ha, Susan; Ruoff, Rachel; Schafler, Eric D; Nwachukwu, Jerome C; Tanese, Naoko; Cowan, Nicholas J; Zavadil, Jiri; Garabedian, Michael J; Logan, Susan K
2012-02-05; 1098-5549,Molecular & cellular biology - id: 136514, year: 2011

Tuba8 Is Expressed at Low Levels in the Developing Mouse and Human Brain
Braun, A; Breuss, M; Salzer, MC; Flint, J; Cowan, NJ; Keays, DA
2012-02-05; 0002-9297,American journal of human genetics - id: 110005, year: 2010