Brett Colson, PhD

Associate Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Associate Professor, BIO5 Institute
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Associate Professor, Clinical Translational Sciences
Associate Professor, Physiological Sciences GIDP
Research Interests: 

The research goal of my laboratory is to understand the molecular interactions and structural dynamics of proteins involved in regulating contraction and relaxation of cardiac and skeletal muscle. We aim to determine the culprits of contractile dysfunction and remodeling in heart failure and muscle disorders, and then apply these insights to design novel therapies. We use biophysical approaches, such as time-resolved FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) with site-directed probes on muscle proteins such actin, myosin, and myosin-binding protein C (MyBP-C), to assess mechanism of action. Currently, we are investigating the mechanism of action for effects of phosphorylation, disease-causing mutations, and small-molecule compounds on MyBP-C and its interactions with actin and myosin.

Molecular Medicine Grad Program: 



Colson, B. A., "In the eye of the STORM: Tracking the myosin-binding protein C N terminus in heart muscle.", J Gen Physiol, vol. 153, issue 3, 2021 Mar 01. PMCID: PMC7879487  PMID: 33566085
Bunch, T. A., V. C. Lepak, K. M. Bortz, and B. A. Colson, "A high-throughput fluorescence lifetime-based assay to detect binding of myosin-binding protein C to F-actin.", J Gen Physiol, vol. 153, issue 3, 2021 Mar 01. PMCID: PMC7898471  PMID: 33600558


Colson, B. A., "What a drag!: Skeletal myosin binding protein-C affects sarcomeric shortening.", J Gen Physiol, vol. 151, issue 5, pp. 614-618, 2019 05 06. PMCID: PMC6504284  PMID: 30979787
Bunch, T. A., R-S. Kanassatega, V. C. Lepak, and B. A. Colson, "Human cardiac myosin-binding protein C restricts actin structural dynamics in a cooperative and phosphorylation-sensitive manner.", J Biol Chem, vol. 294, issue 44, pp. 16228-16240, 2019 11 01. PMCID: PMC6827302  PMID: 31519753


Phung, L. A., S. M. Karvinen, B. A. Colson, D. D. Thomas, and D. A. Lowe, "Age affects myosin relaxation states in skeletal muscle fibers of female but not male mice.", PLoS One, vol. 13, issue 9, pp. e0199062, 2018. PMCID: PMC6143227  PMID: 30226869
Bunch, T. A., V. C. Lepak, R-S. Kanassatega, and B. A. Colson, "N-terminal extension in cardiac myosin-binding protein C regulates myofilament binding.", J Mol Cell Cardiol, vol. 125, pp. 140-148, 2018 Dec. PMCID: PMC6366860  PMID: 30359561


Palumbo, S., Y-J. Shin, K. Ahmad, A. A. Desai, H. Quijada, M. Mohamed, A. Knox, S. Sammani, B. A. Colson, T. Wang, et al., "Dysregulated Nox4 ubiquitination contributes to redox imbalance and age-related severity of acute lung injury.", Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol, vol. 312, issue 3, pp. L297-L308, 2017 Mar 01. PMCID: PMC5374302  PMID: 28062482


Lai, S., B. C. Collins, B. A. Colson, G. Kararigas, and D. A. Lowe, "Estradiol modulates myosin regulatory light chain phosphorylation and contractility in skeletal muscle of female mice.", Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, vol. 310, issue 9, pp. E724-33, 2016 05 01. PMCID: PMC4867308  PMID: 26956186
Colson, B. A., A. R. Thompson, M. L Espinoza-Fonseca, and D. D. Thomas, "Site-directed spectroscopy of cardiac myosin-binding protein C reveals effects of phosphorylation on protein structural dynamics.", Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 113, issue 12, pp. 3233-8, 2016 Mar 22. PMCID: PMC4812748  PMID: 26908877


Colson, B. A., K. J. Petersen, B. C. Collins, D. A. Lowe, and D. D. Thomas, "The myosin super-relaxed state is disrupted by estradiol deficiency.", Biochem Biophys Res Commun, vol. 456, issue 1, pp. 151-5, 2015 Jan 2. PMCID: PMC4276479  PMID: 25446114


L Espinoza-Fonseca, M., B. A. Colson, and D. D. Thomas, "Effects of pseudophosphorylation mutants on the structural dynamics of smooth muscle myosin regulatory light chain.", Mol Biosyst, vol. 10, issue 10, pp. 2693-8, 2014 Oct. PMCID: PMC4219086  PMID: 25091814


Colson, B. A., S. J. Gruber, and D. D. Thomas, "Structural dynamics of muscle protein phosphorylation.", J Muscle Res Cell Motil, vol. 33, issue 6, pp. 419-29, 2012 Dec. PMCID: PMC3652605  PMID: 22930331
Colson, B. A., J. R. Patel, P. P. Chen, T. Bekyarova, M. I. Abdalla, C. W. Tong, D. P. Fitzsimons, T. C. Irving, and R. L. Moss, "Myosin binding protein-C phosphorylation is the principal mediator of protein kinase A effects on thick filament structure in myocardium.", J Mol Cell Cardiol, vol. 53, issue 5, pp. 609-16, 2012 Nov. PMCID: PMC3472100  PMID: 22850286
Colson, B. A., I. N. Rybakova, E. Prochniewicz, R. L. Moss, and D. D. Thomas, "Cardiac myosin binding protein-C restricts intrafilament torsional dynamics of actin in a phosphorylation-dependent manner.", Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 109, issue 50, pp. 20437-42, 2012 Dec 11. PMCID: PMC3528524  PMID: 23169656