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Last Name

C. James McKnight, PhD

TitleAssociate Professor
InstitutionBoston University School of Medicine
DepartmentPhysiology & Biophysics
Address700 Albany St Ctr for Adv Biomed Res
Boston MA 02118
Phone(617) 638-4042
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0002-3237-0896
Other Positions
TitleGraduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students)
InstitutionBoston University School of Medicine, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences

 Research Expertise & Professional Interests
My expertise is in protein structure, function, dynamics and folding and chemistry. Methods used include molecular biology, chromatography, NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, UV/Vis and circular dichroism spectroscopy, electron microscopy, molecular modeling and dynamics. We look at actin binding proteins (especially those containing villin-type headpiece domains) and lipid binding proteins including apolipoprotein B, the essential protein component of low density lipoprotein (LDL, the bad cholesterol) whose elevated levels are correlated with atherosclerosis, stroke, heart and cardiovascular disease.

 Publications
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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  1. Brown JW, Bullitt E, Sriswasdi S, Harper S, Speicher DW, McKnight CJ. The Physiological Molecular Shape of Spectrin: A Compact Supercoil Resembling a Chinese Finger Trap. PLoS Comput Biol. 2015 Jun; 11(6):e1004302.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Jiang ZG, Wu Y, Csizmadia E, Feldbrügge L, Enjyoji K, Tigges J, Toxavidis V, Stephan H, Müller CE, McKnight CJ, Moss A, Robson SC. Erratum to: Characterization of circulating microparticle-associated CD39 family ecto-nucleotidases in human plasma. Purinergic Signal. 2014 Dec; 10(4):855.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Jiang ZG, Wu Y, Csizmadia E, Feldbrügge L, Enjyoji K, Tigges J, Toxavidis V, Stephan H, Müller CE, McKnight CJ, Moss A, Robson SC. Characterization of circulating microparticle-associated CD39 family ecto-nucleotidases in human plasma. Purinergic Signal. 2014 Dec; 10(4):611-8.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Mitsche MA, Packer LE, Brown JW, Jiang ZG, Small DM, McKnight CJ. Surface tensiometry of apolipoprotein B domains at lipid interfaces suggests a new model for the initial steps in triglyceride-rich lipoprotein assembly. J Biol Chem. 2014 Mar 28; 289(13):9000-12.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Fedechkin SO, Brockerman J, Pfaff DA, Burns L, Webb T, Nelson A, Zhang F, Sabantsev AV, Melnikov AS, McKnight CJ, Smirnov SL. Gelsolin-like activation of villin: calcium sensitivity of the long helix in domain 6. Biochemistry. 2013 Nov 12; 52(45):7890-900.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Farelli JD, Gumbart JC, Akey IV, Hempstead A, Amyot W, Head JF, McKnight CJ, Isberg RR, Akey CW. IcmQ in the Type 4b secretion system contains an NAD+ binding domain. Structure. 2013 Aug 6; 21(8):1361-73.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Chen L, Brown JW, Mok YF, Hatters DM, McKnight CJ. The allosteric mechanism induced by protein kinase A (PKA) phosphorylation of dematin (band 4.9). J Biol Chem. 2013 Mar 22; 288(12):8313-20.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Brown JW, Farelli JD, McKnight CJ. On the unyielding hydrophobic core of villin headpiece. Protein Sci. 2012 May; 21(5):647-54.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Li X, Marinkovic M, Russo C, McKnight CJ, Coetzer TL, Chishti AH. Identification of a specific region of Plasmodium falciparum EBL-1 that binds to host receptor glycophorin B and inhibits merozoite invasion in human red blood cells. Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2012 May; 183(1):23-31.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Shukla AN, Daly MK, McKnight CJ, Freddo T. Intraocular ophthalmic ointment following anterior segment surgery. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2011 Dec; 37(12):2218-21.
    View in: PubMed
  11. Brown JW, Farelli JD, McKnight CJ. On unsatisfied hydrogen bonds in the N-terminal subdomain of villin headpiece. J Mol Biol. 2011 Oct 28; 413(3):543-7.
    View in: PubMed
  12. Packer LE, Song B, Raleigh DP, McKnight CJ. Competition between intradomain and interdomain interactions: a buried salt bridge is essential for villin headpiece folding and actin binding. Biochemistry. 2011 May 10; 50(18):3706-12.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Wang L, Jiang ZG, McKnight CJ, Small DM. Interfacial properties of apolipoprotein B292-593 (B6.4-13) and B611-782 (B13-17). Insights into the structure of the lipovitellin homology region in apolipoprotein B. Biochemistry. 2010 May 11; 49(18):3898-907.
    View in: PubMed
  14. Brown JW, McKnight CJ. Molecular model of the microvillar cytoskeleton and organization of the brush border. PLoS One. 2010; 5(2):e9406.
    View in: PubMed
  15. Zhong S, Magnolo AL, Sundaram M, Zhou H, Yao EF, Di Leo E, Loria P, Wang S, Bamji-Mirza M, Wang L, McKnight CJ, Figeys D, Wang Y, Tarugi P, Yao Z. Nonsynonymous mutations within APOB in human familial hypobetalipoproteinemia: evidence for feedback inhibition of lipogenesis and postendoplasmic reticulum degradation of apolipoprotein B. J Biol Chem. 2010 Feb 26; 285(9):6453-64.
    View in: PubMed
  16. Brown JW, McKnight CJ. Identifying competitive protein antagonists for F-actin with reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. Anal Biochem. 2010 Mar 1; 398(1):117-9.
    View in: PubMed
  17. Brown JW, Vardar-Ulu D, McKnight CJ. How to arm a supervillin: designing F-actin binding activity into supervillin headpiece. J Mol Biol. 2009 Oct 30; 393(3):608-18.
    View in: PubMed
  18. Meng J, McKnight CJ. Heterogeneity and dynamics in villin headpiece crystal structures. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2009 May; 65(Pt 5):470-6.
    View in: PubMed
  19. Grasko JM, Hooper AJ, Brown JW, McKnight CJ, Burnett JR. A novel missense HGD gene mutation, K57N, in a patient with alkaptonuria. Clin Chim Acta. 2009 May; 403(1-2):254-6.
    View in: PubMed
  20. Chen L, Jiang ZG, Khan AA, Chishti AH, McKnight CJ. Dematin exhibits a natively unfolded core domain and an independently folded headpiece domain. Protein Sci. 2009 Mar; 18(3):629-36.
    View in: PubMed
  21. Mitsche MA, Wang L, Jiang ZG, McKnight CJ, Small DM. Interfacial properties of a complex multi-domain 490 amino acid peptide derived from apolipoprotein B (residues 292-782). Langmuir. 2009 Feb 17; 25(4):2322-30.
    View in: PubMed
  22. Vugmeyster L, McKnight CJ. Phosphorylation-induced changes in backbone dynamics of the dematin headpiece C-terminal domain. J Biomol NMR. 2009 Jan; 43(1):39-50.
    View in: PubMed
  23. Vugmeyster L, McKnight CJ. Slow motions in chicken villin headpiece subdomain probed by cross-correlated NMR relaxation of amide NH bonds in successive residues. Biophys J. 2008 Dec 15; 95(12):5941-50.
    View in: PubMed
  24. Jiang ZG, Liu Y, Hussain MM, Atkinson D, McKnight CJ. Reconstituting initial events during the assembly of apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins in a cell-free system. J Mol Biol. 2008 Nov 28; 383(5):1181-94.
    View in: PubMed
  25. Meng J, McKnight CJ. Crystal structure of a pH-stabilized mutant of villin headpiece. Biochemistry. 2008 Apr 22; 47(16):4644-50.
    View in: PubMed
  26. Meng J, Parroche P, Golenbock DT, McKnight CJ. The differential impact of disulfide bonds and N-linked glycosylation on the stability and function of CD14. J Biol Chem. 2008 Feb 8; 283(6):3376-84.
    View in: PubMed
  27. Burnett JR, Zhong S, Jiang ZG, Hooper AJ, Fisher EA, McLeod RS, Zhao Y, Barrett PH, Hegele RA, van Bockxmeer FM, Zhang H, Vance DE, McKnight CJ, Yao Z. Missense mutations in APOB within the betaalpha1 domain of human APOB-100 result in impaired secretion of ApoB and ApoB-containing lipoproteins in familial hypobetalipoproteinemia. J Biol Chem. 2007 Aug 17; 282(33):24270-83.
    View in: PubMed
  28. Latz E, Verma A, Visintin A, Gong M, Sirois CM, Klein DC, Monks BG, McKnight CJ, Lamphier MS, Duprex WP, Espevik T, Golenbock DT. Ligand-induced conformational changes allosterically activate Toll-like receptor 9. Nat Immunol. 2007 Jul; 8(7):772-9.
    View in: PubMed
  29. Smirnov SL, Isern NG, Jiang ZG, Hoyt DW, McKnight CJ. The isolated sixth gelsolin repeat and headpiece domain of villin bundle F-actin in the presence of calcium and are linked by a 40-residue unstructured sequence. Biochemistry. 2007 Jun 26; 46(25):7488-96.
    View in: PubMed
  30. Jiang ZG, Simon MN, Wall JS, McKnight CJ. Structural analysis of reconstituted lipoproteins containing the N-terminal domain of apolipoprotein B. Biophys J. 2007 Jun 1; 92(11):4097-108.
    View in: PubMed
  31. Jiang ZG, Gantz D, Bullitt E, McKnight CJ. Defining lipid-interacting domains in the N-terminal region of apolipoprotein B. Biochemistry. 2006 Oct 3; 45(39):11799-808.
    View in: PubMed
  32. Jiang ZG, McKnight CJ. A phosphorylation-induced conformation change in dematin headpiece. Structure. 2006 Feb; 14(2):379-87.
    View in: PubMed
  33. Grey MJ, Tang Y, Alexov E, McKnight CJ, Raleigh DP, Palmer AG. Characterizing a partially folded intermediate of the villin headpiece domain under non-denaturing conditions: contribution of His41 to the pH-dependent stability of the N-terminal subdomain. J Mol Biol. 2006 Feb 3; 355(5):1078-94.
    View in: PubMed
  34. Tang Y, Grey MJ, McKnight J, Palmer AG, Raleigh DP. Multistate folding of the villin headpiece domain. J Mol Biol. 2006 Feb 3; 355(5):1066-77.
    View in: PubMed
  35. McKnight CJ, Cordes MH. Networking at the Protein Society symposium. Nat Chem Biol. 2005 Oct; 1(5):239-42.
    View in: PubMed
  36. Meng J, Vardar D, Wang Y, Guo HC, Head JF, McKnight CJ. High-resolution crystal structures of villin headpiece and mutants with reduced F-actin binding activity. Biochemistry. 2005 Sep 13; 44(36):11963-73.
    View in: PubMed
  37. Jiang ZG, Carraway M, McKnight CJ. Limited proteolysis and biophysical characterization of the lipovitellin homology region in apolipoprotein B. Biochemistry. 2005 Feb 1; 44(4):1163-73.
    View in: PubMed
  38. Frank BS, Vardar D, Chishti AH, McKnight CJ. The NMR structure of dematin headpiece reveals a dynamic loop that is conformationally altered upon phosphorylation at a distal site. J Biol Chem. 2004 Feb 27; 279(9):7909-16.
    View in: PubMed
  39. Wang M, Tang Y, Sato S, Vugmeyster L, McKnight CJ, Raleigh DP. Dynamic NMR line-shape analysis demonstrates that the villin headpiece subdomain folds on the microsecond time scale. J Am Chem Soc. 2003 May 21; 125(20):6032-3.
    View in: PubMed
  40. Cordes MH, Walsh NP, McKnight CJ, Sauer RT. Solution structure of switch Arc, a mutant with 3(10) helices replacing a wild-type beta-ribbon. J Mol Biol. 2003 Feb 21; 326(3):899-909.
    View in: PubMed
  41. Burnett JR, Shan J, Miskie BA, Whitfield AJ, Yuan J, Tran K, McKnight CJ, Hegele RA, Yao Z. A novel nontruncating APOB gene mutation, R463W, causes familial hypobetalipoproteinemia. J Biol Chem. 2003 Apr 11; 278(15):13442-52.
    View in: PubMed
  42. Vugmeyster L, Trott O, McKnight CJ, Raleigh DP, Palmer AG. Temperature-dependent dynamics of the villin headpiece helical subdomain, an unusually small thermostable protein. J Mol Biol. 2002 Jul 19; 320(4):841-54.
    View in: PubMed
  43. Vardar D, Chishti AH, Frank BS, Luna EJ, Noegel AA, Oh SW, Schleicher M, McKnight CJ. Villin-type headpiece domains show a wide range of F-actin-binding affinities. Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2002 May; 52(1):9-21.
    View in: PubMed
  44. Frank BS, Vardar D, Buckley DA, McKnight CJ. The role of aromatic residues in the hydrophobic core of the villin headpiece subdomain. Protein Sci. 2002 Mar; 11(3):680-7.
    View in: PubMed
  45. Grogan J, McKnight CJ, Troxler RF, Oppenheim FG. Zinc and copper bind to unique sites of histatin 5. FEBS Lett. 2001 Feb 23; 491(1-2):76-80.
    View in: PubMed
  46. Herscovitz H, Derksen A, Walsh MT, McKnight CJ, Gantz DL, Hadzopoulou-Cladaras M, Zannis V, Curry C, Small DM. The N-terminal 17% of apoB binds tightly and irreversibly to emulsions modeling nascent very low density lipoproteins. J Lipid Res. 2001 Jan; 42(1):51-9.
    View in: PubMed
  47. Cordes MH, Burton RE, Walsh NP, McKnight CJ, Sauer RT. An evolutionary bridge to a new protein fold. Nat Struct Biol. 2000 Dec; 7(12):1129-32.
    View in: PubMed
  48. Vardar D, Buckley DA, Frank BS, McKnight CJ. NMR structure of an F-actin-binding "headpiece" motif from villin. J Mol Biol. 1999 Dec 17; 294(5):1299-310.
    View in: PubMed
  49. Cordes MH, Walsh NP, McKnight CJ, Sauer RT. Evolution of a protein fold in vitro. Science. 1999 Apr 9; 284(5412):325-8.
    View in: PubMed
  50. McKnight CJ, Matsudaira PT, Kim PS. NMR structure of the 35-residue villin headpiece subdomain. Nat Struct Biol. 1997 Mar; 4(3):180-4.
    View in: PubMed
  51. McKnight CJ, Doering DS, Matsudaira PT, Kim PS. A thermostable 35-residue subdomain within villin headpiece. J Mol Biol. 1996 Jul 12; 260(2):126-34.
    View in: PubMed
  52. Talanian RV, McKnight CJ, Rutkowski R, Kim PS. Minimum length of a sequence-specific DNA binding peptide. Biochemistry. 1992 Aug 4; 31(30):6871-5.
    View in: PubMed
  53. McKnight CJ, Stradley SJ, Jones JD, Gierasch LM. Conformational and membrane-binding properties of a signal sequence are largely unaltered by its adjacent mature region. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Jul 1; 88(13):5799-803.
    View in: PubMed
  54. McKnight CJ, Rafalski M, Gierasch LM. Fluorescence analysis of tryptophan-containing variants of the LamB signal sequence upon insertion into a lipid bilayer. Biochemistry. 1991 Jun 25; 30(25):6241-6.
    View in: PubMed
  55. Talanian RV, McKnight CJ, Kim PS. Sequence-specific DNA binding by a short peptide dimer. Science. 1990 Aug 17; 249(4970):769-71.
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  56. Jones JD, McKnight CJ, Gierasch LM. Biophysical studies of signal peptides: implications for signal sequence functions and the involvement of lipid in protein export. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 1990 Jun; 22(3):213-32.
    View in: PubMed
  57. Bruch MD, McKnight CJ, Gierasch LM. Helix formation and stability in a signal sequence. Biochemistry. 1989 Oct 17; 28(21):8554-61.
    View in: PubMed
  58. McKnight CJ, Briggs MS, Gierasch LM. Functional and nonfunctional LamB signal sequences can be distinguished by their biophysical properties. J Biol Chem. 1989 Oct 15; 264(29):17293-7.
    View in: PubMed
  59. Cornell DG, Dluhy RA, Briggs MS, McKnight CJ, Gierasch LM. Conformations and orientations of a signal peptide interacting with phospholipid monolayers. Biochemistry. 1989 Apr 4; 28(7):2789-97.
    View in: PubMed
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