Dr. Chester (Chet) R. Cooper, Jr.
Molecular Biology and Microbiology
crcooper01 AT ysu DOT edu
B.S. University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Biology, 1979
M.A. University of Texas at Austin, Microbiology, 1983
Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin, Microbiology, 1989
My laboratory's research efforts focus mainly upon understanding the molecular basis of morphogenesis in fungi, particularly those organisms involved as agents of human disease. I am especially interested in the ability of those pathogenic fungi capable of switching patterns of cellular development upon tissue invasion. This property, termed dimorphism, allows the phenotypic transition from the benign form of a fungus to a more virulent morphology. This phase transition process permits the microbe to proliferate in host tissue as well as to evade and survive the immune response to infection. Insight into the underlying molecular mechanisms involved in phase transition may help identify potential targets for the development of antifungal drugs.
In the study of phase transition among disease-causing fungi, I employ two different model organisms. One, Penicillium marneffei, is a significant pathogen of HIV-infected individuals who live or have traveled in Southeast Asia. The dimorphic nature of P. marneffei resides in its ability to grow as a filamentous fungus (mold) or as a single cell (yeast) that divides by fission. In our studies with P. marneffei, my laboratory has a long on-going collaboration with colleagues in the laboratory of Dr. Nongnuch Vanittanakom at Chiang Mai University, Thailand.
The other fungus studied in my laboratory is Wangiella (Exophiala) dermatitidis. This is a darkly pigmented (melanized), polymorphic fungus capable of growing as a mold, in a budding yeast form, or in a multicellular (sclerotic) morphology. The polymorphic character of W. dermatitidis allows it to serve as a model to investigate melanized fungi that cause the diseases designated as phaeohyphomycosis (characterized by the yeast cells in vivo) or chromoblastomycosis (characterized by the sclerotic bodies in vivo). A long-term collaboration in these studies exist with Dr. Paul Szaniszlo at the University of Texas at Austin.
COOPER CR JR. 2011. Yeasts pathogenic for humans and animals. In: Kurtzman CP, Fell JW, Boekhout T, eds. The Yeasts: A Taxonomic Study. 5th ed. Vol. 1. Amsterdam: Elsevier. pp. 9-19.
Matsumoto T, COOPER CR JR., Szaniszlo PJ. 2011. Chromoblastomycosis and phaeohyphomycosis. In: Guerrant RL, Walker DH, Weller PF, eds., Tropical Infectious Diseases,: Principles, Pathogens, and Practice, 3rd ed. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 569-572.
Kummasook A, Tzarphmaag A, Thirach S, Pongpom M, COOPER CR Jr, Vanittanakom N. 2010. Penicillium marneffei actin expression during phase transition, oxidative stress, and macrophage infection. Molecular Biology Reports 38: 2813-2819 [DOI 10.1007/s11033-010-0427-1]
Kummasook A, COOPER CR Jr., Vanittanakom N. 2010. An improved Agrobacterium-mediated transformation system for the functional genetic analysis of Penicillium marneffei. Medical Mycology 48: 1066-1074.
Kummasook A, COOPER CR Jr., Thirach S, Vanittanakom N. 2010. Isolation and differential expression of ura5 gene during phase transition and stress conditions in a human pathogenic dimorphic fungus, Penicillium marneffei. KKU Research Journal 10: 19-26.
Vanittanakom N, Pongpom M, Praparattanapan J, COOPER CR Jr., Sirisanthana T. 2009. Isolation and expression of the heat shock protein 30 gene from Penicillium marneffei. Medical Mycology 47: 521-526.
Gifford TD, COOPER CR Jr. 2009. Karyotype determination and gene mapping in two clinical isolates of Penicillium marneffei. Medical Mycology 47: 286-295.
COOPER CR Jr., Vanittanakom N. 2008. Insights into the pathogenicity of Penicillium marneffei. Future Microbiology 3: 43-55.
Thirach S, COOPER CR Jr., Vanittanakom N. 2008. Molecular analysis of the Penicillium marneffei glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase gene (gpdA) and differential expression of gpdA and isocitrate lyase (acuD) upon internalization by murine macrophages. Journal of Medical Microbiology 57: 1322-1328.
Liu H, Abramczyk D, COOPER CR Jr., Zheng L, Park C, Szaniszlo PJ. 2008. Molecular cloning and characterization of WdTUP1, a gene that encodes a potential transcriptional repressor important for yeast-hyphal transitions in Wangiella (Exophiala) dermatitidis. Fungal Genetics and Biology 45: 646-656.
Chandler JM, Treece ER, Trenary HR, Brenneman JL, Flickner TJ, Frommelt JL, Oo ZM, Patterson MM, Rundle WT, Valle OV, Kim YD, Walker GR, COOPER CR Jr. 2008. Protein profiling of the dimorphic, pathogenic fungus, Penicillium marneffei. Proteome Science 6: 17.