George Brownlee

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George Brownlee
George Gow Brownlee

(1942-01-13) 13 January 1942 (age 81)[7]
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (MA, PhD)
Margaret Susan Kemp
(m. 1966)
Scientific career
ThesisNucleotide sequences in the low molecular weight ribosomal ribonucleic acid of Escherichia coli (1967)
Doctoral advisorFrederick Sanger[4][5]
Doctoral studentsGreg Winter[6]

George Gow Brownlee FRS FMedSci is a British pathologist and Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford.[8][9][10][11][12]


Brownlee was educated at Dulwich College[7] and Emmanuel College, Cambridge where he studied Natural Sciences and was awarded a Master of Arts degree followed by PhD in 1967 for research on nucleotides supervised by Fred Sanger at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB).[8][13][14]

Career and Research[edit]

Brownlee was Professor of Chemical Pathology at Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, from 1978 to 2008.[citation needed]

Brownlee cloned and expressed human clotting factor IX,[15][16] providing a recombinant source of this protein for Haemophilia B patients who had previously relied on the hazardous blood-derived product.

With Merlin Crossley he helped discover the two sets of genetic mutations that were preventing two key proteins from attaching to the DNA of people with a rare and unusual form of Haemophilia BHaemophilia B Leyden – where sufferers experience episodes of excessive bleeding in childhood but have few bleeding problems after puberty. This lack of protein attachment to the DNA was thereby turning off the gene that produces clotting factor IX, which prevents excessive bleeding.[17]

With Peter Palese and co-workers he developed the first reverse genetics system for influenza virus, markedly speeding up the process of developing influenza vaccines.[18]

Brownlee authored a biography of Fred Sanger published in 2014.[19][20]

Awards and honours[edit]

Brownlee was awarded The Colworth Medal by the Biochemical Society in 1976[1] and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1987.[7] His certificate of election and candidature reads:

Distinguished for his work on the sequences of nucleic acids and their biological implications. He contributed to the development of methods using 32P-labelling and two-dimensional fractionation techniques, which greatly accelerated the early RNA sequencing. He used these methods to determine the sequence of the 5S ribosomal RNA, at that time the largest nucleic acid to be sequenced. He used fingerprint analysis of messenger RNA to demonstrate that immunoglobulin V- and C-regions were not discontinuous at the messenger RNA level, and early analysis of messenger RNA to identify a precursor for light chain synthesis. Parallel studies on globin messenger RNA demonstrated important features of eucaryotic translation. More recently he has developed faster methods for RNA sequencing and has applied them to transfer RNAs and ovalbumin messenger RNA. He also studied the DNA sequence of the ovalbumin gene and its insertion sequences. He determined the nucleotide sequence of the multiple gene coding for the 5S RNA in Xenopus laevis and showed that the coding regions alternated with a repetitious region and a "pseudogene" that had a sequence homologous with part of the 5S region.[2]

Brownlee was also elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 1998[7][3] and an EMBO Member in 1979.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Brownlee, G. G. (1979). "The Fourteenth Colworth Medal Lecture Sequencing eukaryotic genes or the anatomy of DNA". Biochemical Society Transactions. 7 (2): 279–96. doi:10.1042/bst0070279. PMID 570938.
  2. ^ a b "Certificate of Election and Candidature: EC/1987/02 – George Gow Brownlee". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 27 August 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Professor George Brownlee FRS FMedSci: Emeritus Professor of Chemical Pathology". London: Academy of Medical Sciences. Archived from the original on 27 August 2015.
  4. ^ Brownlee, George G. (2015). "Frederick Sanger CBE CH OM. 13 August 1918 – 19 November 2013". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 61: 437–466. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2015.0013. ISSN 0080-4606.
  5. ^ "Oral History: Fred Sanger on George Brownlee". Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Archived from the original on 15 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Greg Winter, PhD". Archived from the original on 30 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e "BROWNLEE, Prof. George Gow". Who's Who. Vol. 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  8. ^ a b "Professor George Brownlee, Lincoln College, Oxford". University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013.
  9. ^ George Brownlee's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  10. ^ Rao, Z.; Handford, P.; Mayhew, M.; Knott, V.; Brownlee, G. G.; Stuart, D. (1995). "The structure of a Ca(2+)-binding epidermal growth factor-like domain: Its role in protein-protein interactions". Cell. 82 (1): 131–141. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(95)90059-4. PMID 7606779.
  11. ^ Caton, A. J.; Brownlee, G. G.; Yewdell, J. W.; Gerhard, W. (1982). "The antigenic structure of the influenza virus A/PR/8/34 hemagglutinin (H1 subtype)". Cell. 31 (2 Pt 1): 417–427. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(82)90135-0. PMID 6186384.
  12. ^ Proudfoot, N. J.; Brownlee, G. G. (1976). "3′ Non-coding region sequences in eukaryotic messenger RNA". Nature. 263 (5574): 211–214. Bibcode:1976Natur.263..211P. doi:10.1038/263211a0. PMID 822353.
  13. ^ Brownlee, George Gow (1967). Nucleotide sequences in the low molecular weight ribosomal ribonucleic acid of Escherichia coli (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. ProQuest 301246027.
  14. ^ Brownlee, George C. (2014). "Fred Sanger, Double Nobel Laureate: A Biography". RNA. 22 (3): 317. doi:10.1261/rna.055590.115. PMC 4748809.
  15. ^ Choo, K. H.; Gould, K. G.; Rees, D. J. G.; Brownlee, G. G. (1982). "Molecular cloning of the gene for human anti-haemophilic factor IX". Nature. 299 (5879): 178–180. Bibcode:1982Natur.299..178C. doi:10.1038/299178a0. PMID 6287289.
  16. ^ Anson, D. S.; Austen, D. E. G.; Brownlee, G. G. (1985). "Expression of active human clotting factor IX from recombinant DNA clones in mammalian cells". Nature. 315 (6021): 683–685. Bibcode:1985Natur.315..683A. doi:10.1038/315683a0. PMID 2989700.
  17. ^ Crossley, M; Brownlee, G. G. (1990). "Disruption of a C/EBP binding site in the factor IX promoter is associated with haemophilia B". Nature. 345 (6274): 444–6. Bibcode:1990Natur.345..444C. doi:10.1038/345444a0. PMID 2342576.
  18. ^ Fodor, E.; Devenish, L.; Engelhardt, O. G.; Palese, P.; Brownlee, G. G.; García-Sastre, A. (1 November 1999). "Rescue of influenza A virus from recombinant DNA". Journal of Virology. 73 (11): 9679–9682. doi:10.1128/JVI.73.11.9679-9682.1999. ISSN 0022-538X. PMC 113010. PMID 10516084.
  19. ^ "Fred Sanger, Double Nobel Laureate: A Biography". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 22 August 2014. ISBN 1107083346
  20. ^ "Biography celebrates life of Fred Sanger". St. John's College, Cambridge.
  21. ^ "EMBO Profile: George G. Brownlee". Heidelberg: European Molecular Biology Organization.