Dr Bridget Crampton

Senior Lecturer


Plant and Soil Sciences
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I completed my BSc and BSc Honours at the University of the Witwatersrand, before moving to the University of Cape Town to read for a Masters degree in Molecular Microbiology.  Thereafter, I worked at CSIR Biosciences for twelve years in the Plant Biotechnology group where I was involved in various projects including micropropagation of indigenous plant species, Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of legume species, and expression of pharmaceutically important proteins in plants.  Whilst at the CSIR, I was afforded the opportunity to do a PhD, which I obtained from the University of Pretoria in 2006.  The focus of my PhD project was to elucidate defence response mechanisms in pearl millet, an indigenous African crop.  I employed various gene expression technologies including suppression subtractive hybridisation, cDNA microarray expression profiling and quantitative real time PCR to examine pearl millet’s response to the defence signalling compounds methyl jasmonate and salicylic acid, as well as infection with Puccinia substriata, the causal agent of rust.

My current research interests are centred on grey leaf spot (GLS) and northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) in maize.  GLS, caused by the fungus Cercospora zeina, and NCLB caused by Exserohilum turcicum, are important emerging threats to maize production in southern Africa.  During my postdoctoral fellowship, I was part of a project team that studied the molecular basis of quantitative resistance to GLS in maize through the application of eQTL analysis.  As research leader of the Cereal Foliar Pathogen Research group, I have extended this research to identify and functionally characterise effectors produced by C. zeina, and interaction of these effectors with plant proteins.  In addition, we have initiated a population study on E. turcicum isolated from maize and sorghum plants in southern Africa.  Future work will also involve characterisation of effector proteins from E. turcicum

In addition to work on cereal foliar pathogens, I am also involved in projects to micropropagate Helichrysum populifolium and Helichrysum umbraculigerum.  These plant species are indigenous to Southern Africa, and produce medicinally active secondary metabolites.  Research is underway to characterise genes and enzymes in biochemical pathways responsible for secondary metabolite production in these plants.


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Marais I, Buitendag C, Duong TA, Crampton BG, Theron J, Kidanemarium D, Berger DK. (2024) Double-stranded RNA uptake for the control of the maize pathogen Cercospora zeina. Plant Pathology Online first:1-11. 10.1111/ppa.13909
Malefo M, Mathibela O, Makgopa E, Crampton BG. (2020) Investigating the role of Bowman-Birk serine protease inhibitor in Arabidopsis plants under drought stress. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 149:286-293. 10.1016/J.PLAPHY.2020.02.007
Human MP, Berger DK, Crampton BG. (2020) Time-course RNAseq reveals Exserohilum turcicum effectors and pathogenicity determinants. Frontiers in Microbiology 11(360) 10.3389/fmicb.2020.00360
Devnarain N, Crampton BG, Olivier N, van der Westhuizen C, Becker JVW, O'Kennedy MM. (2019) Transcriptomic analysis of a Sorghum bicolour landrace identifies a role for beta-alanine betaine biosynthesis in drought tolerance.. South African Journal of Botany 127 10.1016/j.sajb.2019.08.049
Ranghoo-Sanmukhiya VM, Soulange JG, Chellan Y, Lambrechts I, Stapelberg J, Crampton B, Lall N. (2019) Biochemical and phylogenetic analysis of Eugenia and Syzygium species from Mauritius. Journal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Volume 12:21-29. 10.1016/j.jarmap.2018.10.004
van den Berg N, Mohamed W, Olivier NA, Swart V, Crampton B. (2018) Transcriptome analysis of an incompatible Persea americana-Phytophthora cinnamomi interaction reveals the involvement of SA- and JA-pathways in a successful defense response. PLoS ONE 13(10):e0205705. 10.1371/journal.pone.0205705
Stapelberg J, Lambrechts I, Crampton B, Lall N. (2018) Selected South African plants with tyrosinase enzyme inhibition and their effect on gene expression. South African Journal of Botany https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sajb.2018.08.013 PDF
Liversage J, Coetzee MPA, Bluhm BH, Berger DK, Crampton BG. (2018) LOVe across kingdoms: Blue light perception vital for growth and development in plant–fungal interactions. Fungal Biology Reviews 32(2):86-103. 10.1016/j.fbr.2017.11.003
Wingfield BD, Berger DK, Steenkamp ET, Lim H-J, Duong TA, Bluhm BH, De Beer ZW, De Vos L, Fourie G, Naidoo K, Olivier NA, Lin Y, Van der Peer Y, Joubert F, Crampton BG, Swart V, Soal N, Tatham C, Van der Nest MA, Van der Merwe NA, Van Wyk S, Wilken PM, Wingfield MJ. (2017) IMA Genome-F 8 Draft genome of Cercospora zeina, Fusarium pininemorale, Hawksworthiomyces lignivorus, Huntiella decipiens and Ophiostoma ips. IMA Fungus 8 (2):385‑396. 10.5598/imafungus.2017.08.02.10 PDF
Swart V, Crampton BG, Ridenour JB, Bluhm BH, Olivier NA, Meyer JJM, Berger DK. (2017) Complementation of CTB7 in the maize pathogen Cercospora zeina overcomes the lack of in vitro cercosporin production. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 30(9):710-724. 10.1094/MPMI-03-17-0054-R
Christie N, Myburg AA, Joubert F, Murray SL, Carstens M, Lin Y-C, Meyer J, Crampton BG, Christensen SA, Ntuli JF, Wighard SS, Van de Peer Y, Berger DK. (2017) Systems genetics reveals a transcriptional network associated with susceptibility in the maize-gray leaf spot pathosystem. The Plant Journal 89(4):746-763. 10.1111/tpj.13419
Human MP, Barnes I, Craven M, Crampton BG. (2016) Lack of population structure and mixed reproduction modes in Exserohilum turcicum from South Africa. Phytopathology 106(11):1386-1392. 10.1094/PHYTO-12-15-0311-R
Muller MF, Barnes I, Kunene NT, Crampton BG, Bluhm B, Phillips S, Olivier NA, Berger DK. (2016) Cercospora zeina from maize in South Africa exhibits high genetic diversity and lack of regional population differentiation. Phytopathology 106(10):1194-1205. 10.1094/PHYTO-02-16-0084-FI
Naidoo SIM, Laurie SM, Odeny DA, Vorster BJ, Mphela WM, Greyling MM, Crampton BG. (2016) Genetic analysis of yield and flesh colour in sweetpotato. African Crop Science Journal 24(1):61-73. 10.4314/acsj.v24i1.5 PDF
Haasbroek MP, Craven M, Barnes I, Crampton BG. (2014) Microsatellite and mating type primers for the maize and sorghum pathogen, Exserohilum turcicum. Australasian Plant Pathology 43(5):577-581. 10.1007/s13313-014-0289-4 PDF
Korsman J, Meisel B, Kloppers F, Crampton B, Berger D. (2012) Quantitative phenotyping of grey leaf spot disease in maize using real-time PCR. European Journal of Plant Pathology 133:461-471. 10.1007/s10658-011-9920-1
Crampton BG, Hein I, Berger DK. (2009) Salicylic acid confers resistance to a biotrophic rust pathogen, Puccinia substriata, in pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum). Molecular Plant Pathology 10:291-304.
Crampton BG, van den Berg N, Hein I, Birch PRJ, Berger DK. (2004) High-throughput screening of suppression subtractive hybridization cDNA libraries using DNA microarray analysis. BioTechniques 37(5):818-824.