Keith Burridge

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Keith Burridge

Keith Burridge (born 1 July 1950) is a British researcher and Kenan distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[1] His research on focal adhesions includes the discovery of many adhesion proteins including vinculin,[2][3] talin[4][5] and paxillin,[6][7] and ranks him in top 1% of the most cited scientist in the field of molecular biology and genetics.[1] Burridge has published more than 200 peer reviewed articles.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in 1950 in Dorset, England. He obtained his undergraduate degree in 1971 from the University of Cambridge, and then completed his Ph.D. in Dennis Bray’s laboratory in the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), also in Cambridge, in 1975.[1] Using biochemical techniques, he showed that at least two distinct types of myosin II exist in non-muscle cells and that some cells expressed both types.[8][9]

Focal adhesion research[edit]

He went as a postdoc to James D. Watson’s laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor where he met Elias Lazarides.[1][2] They decided to compile their work on α-actinin and showed that α-actinin is distributed periodically along stress fibers.[10][11] They also noted that there was a concentration of α-actinin in plaques at the ends of stress fibers.[10][12] Since these regions would several years later be named focal adhesions, α-actinin was the first protein found to be concentrated at these sites.[2] While developing a procedure to purify α-actinin from smooth muscle, Burridge co-purified another protein, vinculin,[2][3] independently of Benny Geiger’s discovery.[13]

In 1981 Burridge left Cold Spring Harbor Lab for a faculty position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he continued to work on focal adhesions.[1] He discovered talin (protein)[4][5] as another focal adhesion protein and then, in collaboration with Rick Horwitz’s laboratory, showed that talin (protein) bound to the cytoplasmic domains of integrins.[14][15] He then discovered other focal adhesion components including paxillin[6][7] and contributed to the discovery of zyxin[16] and palladin.[17] Since then his work has focused on the signaling pathways emanating from focal adhesions, including RhoA-mediated contractility[18][19][20] and tyrosine phosphorylation in response to adhesion.[21][22][23]


In parallel with his scientific career, Keith Burridge has written several plays of varying length. His 10 minute play “Chocolates for Mr. Wolfowitz” appeared in the Knutsford Little Theatre short play festival of 2008 in the UK.[24] “The Art of Deception”, based on the true story of the art forger Han van Meegeren, won 2014 best new play by Playwrights First.[25] “The First Woman President” is a one woman, one act play, that was premiered in the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City in 2016.[26] In the play Edith Wilson looks back to when she took over running the country while concealing from the public that her husband, President Woodrow Wilson, had suffered a stroke [27]

Distinction and awards[edit]

  • 1988 Hettleman Prize.[28]
  • 2002 Freshman Medical Student Teaching Award, UNC School of Medicine.[28]
  • 2003 Kenan Distinguished Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology.[28]
  • 2003 Hyman Battle Medical Student Teaching Award.[28]
  • 2016 Fellow, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[29]


  1. ^ a b c d e ISI Highly Cited Researcher An essay by: Professor Keith Burridge[self-published source?]
  2. ^ a b c d Chenette, Emily (December 2008). "Milestone 12 (1980) Actin-adhesion links to the extracellular matrix". Nature Milestones. doi:10.1038/nrm2568. 
  3. ^ a b Burridge K, Feramisco JR; Feramisco (March 1980). "Microinjection and localization of a 130K protein in living fibroblasts: a relationship to actin and fibronectin". Cell. 19 (3): 587–95. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(80)80035-3. PMID 6988083. 
  4. ^ a b Burridge K, Connell L; Connell (August 1983). "A new protein of adhesion plaques and ruffling membranes". The Journal of Cell Biology. 97 (2): 359–67. doi:10.1083/jcb.97.2.359. PMC 2112532Freely accessible. PMID 6684120. 
  5. ^ a b Geiger, B; Volk, T; Volberg, T (1985). "Molecular heterogeneity of adherens junctions". The Journal of Cell Biology. 101 (4): 1523–31. doi:10.1083/jcb.101.4.1523. PMC 2113916Freely accessible. PMID 3930512. 
  6. ^ a b Deakin, NO; Turner, CE (2008). "Paxillin comes of age". Journal of Cell Science. 121 (Pt 15): 2435–44. doi:10.1242/jcs.018044. PMC 2522309Freely accessible. PMID 18650496. 
  7. ^ a b Turner CE, Glenney JR, Burridge K; Glenney Jr; Burridge (September 1990). "Paxillin: a new vinculin-binding protein present in focal adhesions". The Journal of Cell Biology. 111 (3): 1059–68. doi:10.1083/jcb.111.3.1059. PMC 2116264Freely accessible. PMID 2118142. 
  8. ^ Burridge K, Bray D; Bray (November 1975). "Purification and structural analysis of myosins from brain and other non-muscle tissues". Journal of Molecular Biology. 99 (1): 1–14. doi:10.1016/S0022-2836(75)80154-9. PMID 128633. 
  9. ^ Korn, ED (1978). "Biochemistry of actomyosin-dependent cell motility (a review)". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 75 (2): 588–99. Bibcode:1978PNAS...75..588K. doi:10.1073/pnas.75.2.588. PMC 411302Freely accessible. PMID 147464. 
  10. ^ a b Lazarides E, Burridge K; Burridge (November 1975). "Alpha-actinin: immunofluorescent localization of a muscle structural protein in nonmuscle cells". Cell. 6 (3): 289–98. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(75)90180-4. PMID 802682. 
  11. ^ Feramisco, JR (1979). "Microinjection of fluorescently labeled alpha-actinin into living fibroblasts". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 76 (8): 3967–71. Bibcode:1979PNAS...76.3967F. doi:10.1073/pnas.76.8.3967. PMC 383957Freely accessible. PMID 291056. 
  12. ^ Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th edition Bruce Alberts, Alexander Johnson, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, and Peter Walter - New York: Garland Science; 2002. ISBN 0-8153-3218-1 ISBN 0-8153-4072-9 Figure 17-50. Focal adhesions as production sites of intracellular signals
  13. ^ Geiger B (September 1979). "A 130K protein from chicken gizzard: its localization at the termini of microfilament bundles in cultured chicken cells". Cell. 18 (1): 193–205. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(79)90368-4. PMID 574428. 
  14. ^ Horwitz A, Duggan K, Buck C, Beckerle MC, Burridge K; Duggan; Buck; Beckerle; Burridge (1986). "Interaction of plasma membrane fibronectin receptor with talin--a transmembrane linkage". Nature. 320 (6062): 531–3. Bibcode:1986Natur.320..531H. doi:10.1038/320531a0. PMID 2938015. 
  15. ^ Brakebusch, C; Fässler, R (2003). "The integrin-actin connection, an eternal love affair". The EMBO Journal. 22 (10): 2324–33. doi:10.1093/emboj/cdg245. PMC 156003Freely accessible. PMID 12743027. 
  16. ^ Beckerle MC (November 1986). "Identification of a new protein localized at sites of cell-substrate adhesion". The Journal of Cell Biology. 103 (5): 1679–87. doi:10.1083/jcb.103.5.1679. PMC 2114371Freely accessible. PMID 3536951. 
  17. ^ Parast MM, Otey CA; Otey (August 2000). "Characterization of palladin, a novel protein localized to stress fibers and cell adhesions". The Journal of Cell Biology. 150 (3): 643–56. doi:10.1083/jcb.150.3.643. PMC 2175193Freely accessible. PMID 10931874. 
  18. ^ Chrzanowska-Wodnicka M, Burridge K; Burridge (June 1996). "Rho-stimulated contractility drives the formation of stress fibers and focal adhesions". The Journal of Cell Biology. 133 (6): 1403–15. doi:10.1083/jcb.133.6.1403. PMC 2120895Freely accessible. PMID 8682874. 
  19. ^ Riveline, D.; Zamir, E.; Balaban, N. Q.; Schwarz, U. S.; Ishizaki, T.; Narumiya, S.; Kam, Z.; Geiger, B.; Bershadsky, A. D. (2001). "Focal Contacts as Mechanosensors: Externally Applied Local Mechanical Force Induces Growth of Focal Contacts by an Mdia1-Dependent and Rock-Independent Mechanism". The Journal of Cell Biology. 153 (6): 1175–86. doi:10.1083/jcb.153.6.1175. PMC 2192034Freely accessible. PMID 11402062. 
  20. ^ Schwartz, MA; Ingber, DE (1994). "Integrating with integrins". Molecular Biology of the Cell. 5 (4): 389–93. doi:10.1091/mbc.5.4.389. PMC 301049Freely accessible. PMID 8054683. 
  21. ^ Burridge K, Turner CE, Romer LH; Turner; Romer (November 1992). "Tyrosine phosphorylation of paxillin and pp125FAK accompanies cell adhesion to extracellular matrix: a role in cytoskeletal assembly". The Journal of Cell Biology. 119 (4): 893–903. doi:10.1083/jcb.119.4.893. PMC 2289706Freely accessible. PMID 1385444. 
  22. ^ Juliano, RL; Haskill, S (1993). "Signal transduction from the extracellular matrix". The Journal of Cell Biology. 120 (3): 577–85. doi:10.1083/jcb.120.3.577. PMC 2119550Freely accessible. PMID 8381117. 
  23. ^ Lodish, Harvey; Berk, Arnold; Zipursky, S Lawrence; Matsudaira, Paul; Baltimore, David; Darnell, James (2000). "22 Integrating Cells into Tissues - PERSPECTIVES in the Literature". Molecular Cell Biology (4th ed.). New York: W. H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-3136-3. 
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