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Senior Lecturer

Department

Plant 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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Publication
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.
Van den Berg N, Crampton BG, 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.