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 Charlie Cairns

Charlie Cairns

In January 2012 I joined the Haynes laboratory to work on Mycosphaerella graminicola, a devastating pathogen of wheat. I am very interested in the molecular basis of fungal virulence. During my PhD, I focused on the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus, where I used transcriptomics to dissect early events during colonisation of immunocompromised mice. Fascinatingly, strategies for environmental adaptation and some of the molecular mechanisms employed by fungi to infect the host are common to both animal and plant pathogens. At present, I am working with the Exeter M. graminicola team to design and develop a set of tools which will enable functional genomic analyses of this important crop pathogen.

Broad research specialisms:

  • Molecular biology of Ascomycetes
  • Transcriptomic analyses
  • Murine and plant infection assays

Qualifications

2011: PhD, Imperial College London. Thesis entitled ““Early events in Aspergillus fumigatus infection: A chronicle of host-pathogen interactions.” Supervised by Dr. Elaine Bignell.
2006: BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences, University of Exeter, UK.

Research

Research projects

Project Title: Generating a functional genomics toolkit for the wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola

Funding Body: Research is funded through Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council

Project Description:

Ensuring global food security represents one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century.  Mycosphaerella graminicola frequently causes losses between 30 – 50% in annual wheat harvests, yet the molecular mechanisms underlying this devastating disease remain poorly characterised. Recently developed functional genomic tools have proven invaluable in understanding the biology of several organisms. For example, in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, genome-wide targeted gene deletion, over-expression, and sub-cellular protein localisation studies have allowed rapid characterization of important cellular functions such as cell division control, cellular differentiation, cytoskeleton function, and intracellular trafficking. The aim of my project is to design, develop and implement similar tools in order to better understand fundamental elements of M. graminicola biology. We will develop a fully sequenced M. graminicola ORFeome in the Gateway system; an M. graminicola ku80 strain to facilitate large scale gene targeting projects; a collection of plasmids with optimised fluorescent protein tags; a set of M. graminicola inducible promoters; and standardised techniques for analysing this organism using a wheat infection assay. These cutting edge resources will be made available to the research community in order to maximally exploit modern functional genomics in understanding this devastating pathogen.

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


Alcazar-Fuoli E (In Press). A Modified Recombineering Protocol for the Genetic Manipulation of Gene Clusters in <italic>Aspergillus fumigatus</italic>. PLoS ONE, 9, e111875-e111875. Abstract.
Bertuzzi EM (In Press). The pH-Responsive PacC Transcription Factor of <italic>Aspergillus fumigatus</italic> Governs Epithelial Entry and Tissue Invasion during Pulmonary Aspergillosis. PLoS Pathog, 10, e1004413-e1004413. Abstract.
Yasmin S, Alcazar-Fuoli L, Gründlinger M, Puempel T, Cairns T, Blatzer M, Lopez JF, Grimalt JO, Bignell E, Haas H, et al (2012). Mevalonate governs interdependency of ergosterol and siderophore biosyntheses in the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. PNAS, 109, E497-E504. Abstract.  Author URL.
Hartmann T, Cairns TC, Olbermann P, Morschhäuser J, Bignell EM, Krappmann S (2011). Oligopeptide transport and regulation of extracellular proteolysis are required for growth of Aspergillus fumigatus on complex substrates but not for virulence. Mol. Microbiol, 82, 917-935. Author URL.
O'Hanlon KA, Cairns T, Stack D, Schrettl M, Bignell EM, Kavanagh K, Miggin SM, O'Keeffe G, Larsen TO, Doyle S, et al (2011). Targeted Disruption of Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetase pes3 Augments the Virulence of Aspergillus fumigatus. Infect Immun, 79, 3978-3992. Abstract.  Author URL.
Cairns T, Minuzzi F, Bignell E (2010). The host-infecting fungal transcriptome. FEMS Microbiol Lett

Publications by category


Journal articles

Alcazar-Fuoli E (In Press). A Modified Recombineering Protocol for the Genetic Manipulation of Gene Clusters in <italic>Aspergillus fumigatus</italic>. PLoS ONE, 9, e111875-e111875. Abstract.
Bertuzzi EM (In Press). The pH-Responsive PacC Transcription Factor of <italic>Aspergillus fumigatus</italic> Governs Epithelial Entry and Tissue Invasion during Pulmonary Aspergillosis. PLoS Pathog, 10, e1004413-e1004413. Abstract.
Yasmin S, Alcazar-Fuoli L, Gründlinger M, Puempel T, Cairns T, Blatzer M, Lopez JF, Grimalt JO, Bignell E, Haas H, et al (2012). Mevalonate governs interdependency of ergosterol and siderophore biosyntheses in the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. PNAS, 109, E497-E504. Abstract.  Author URL.
Hartmann T, Cairns TC, Olbermann P, Morschhäuser J, Bignell EM, Krappmann S (2011). Oligopeptide transport and regulation of extracellular proteolysis are required for growth of Aspergillus fumigatus on complex substrates but not for virulence. Mol. Microbiol, 82, 917-935. Author URL.
O'Hanlon KA, Cairns T, Stack D, Schrettl M, Bignell EM, Kavanagh K, Miggin SM, O'Keeffe G, Larsen TO, Doyle S, et al (2011). Targeted Disruption of Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetase pes3 Augments the Virulence of Aspergillus fumigatus. Infect Immun, 79, 3978-3992. Abstract.  Author URL.
Bhatti MF, Jamal A, Petrou MA, Cairns TC, Bignell EM, Coutts RHA (2011). The effects of dsRNA mycoviruses on growth and murine virulence of Aspergillus fumigatus. Fungal Genet Biol, 48, 1071-1075. Author URL.
Han KH, Chun YH, Figueiredo Bde C, Soriani FM, Savoldi M, Almeida A, Rodrigues F, Cairns CT, Bignell E, Tobal JM, et al (2010). The conserved and divergent roles of carbonic anhydrases in the filamentous fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus nidulans. Mol Microbiol, 75, 1372-1388. Abstract.  Author URL.
Cairns T, Minuzzi F, Bignell E (2010). The host-infecting fungal transcriptome. FEMS Microbiol Lett
Bergmann A, Hartmann T, Cairns T, Bignell EM, Krappmann S (2009). A regulator of Aspergillus fumigatus extracellular proteolytic activity is dispensable for virulence. Infect. Immun, 77, 4041-4050. Abstract.  Author URL.
McDonagh A, Fedorova ND, Crabtree J, Yu Y, Kim S, Chen D, Loss O, Cairns T, Goldman G, Armstrong-James D, et al (2008). Sub-telomere directed gene expression during initiation of invasive aspergillosis. PLoS Pathog, 4(9). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

Publications by year


In Press

Alcazar-Fuoli E (In Press). A Modified Recombineering Protocol for the Genetic Manipulation of Gene Clusters in <italic>Aspergillus fumigatus</italic>. PLoS ONE, 9, e111875-e111875. Abstract.
Bertuzzi EM (In Press). The pH-Responsive PacC Transcription Factor of <italic>Aspergillus fumigatus</italic> Governs Epithelial Entry and Tissue Invasion during Pulmonary Aspergillosis. PLoS Pathog, 10, e1004413-e1004413. Abstract.

2012

Yasmin S, Alcazar-Fuoli L, Gründlinger M, Puempel T, Cairns T, Blatzer M, Lopez JF, Grimalt JO, Bignell E, Haas H, et al (2012). Mevalonate governs interdependency of ergosterol and siderophore biosyntheses in the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. PNAS, 109, E497-E504. Abstract.  Author URL.

2011

Hartmann T, Cairns TC, Olbermann P, Morschhäuser J, Bignell EM, Krappmann S (2011). Oligopeptide transport and regulation of extracellular proteolysis are required for growth of Aspergillus fumigatus on complex substrates but not for virulence. Mol. Microbiol, 82, 917-935. Author URL.
O'Hanlon KA, Cairns T, Stack D, Schrettl M, Bignell EM, Kavanagh K, Miggin SM, O'Keeffe G, Larsen TO, Doyle S, et al (2011). Targeted Disruption of Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetase pes3 Augments the Virulence of Aspergillus fumigatus. Infect Immun, 79, 3978-3992. Abstract.  Author URL.
Bhatti MF, Jamal A, Petrou MA, Cairns TC, Bignell EM, Coutts RHA (2011). The effects of dsRNA mycoviruses on growth and murine virulence of Aspergillus fumigatus. Fungal Genet Biol, 48, 1071-1075. Author URL.

2010

Han KH, Chun YH, Figueiredo Bde C, Soriani FM, Savoldi M, Almeida A, Rodrigues F, Cairns CT, Bignell E, Tobal JM, et al (2010). The conserved and divergent roles of carbonic anhydrases in the filamentous fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus nidulans. Mol Microbiol, 75, 1372-1388. Abstract.  Author URL.
Cairns T, Minuzzi F, Bignell E (2010). The host-infecting fungal transcriptome. FEMS Microbiol Lett

2009

Bergmann A, Hartmann T, Cairns T, Bignell EM, Krappmann S (2009). A regulator of Aspergillus fumigatus extracellular proteolytic activity is dispensable for virulence. Infect. Immun, 77, 4041-4050. Abstract.  Author URL.

2008

McDonagh A, Fedorova ND, Crabtree J, Yu Y, Kim S, Chen D, Loss O, Cairns T, Goldman G, Armstrong-James D, et al (2008). Sub-telomere directed gene expression during initiation of invasive aspergillosis. PLoS Pathog, 4(9). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

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