Geoffrey Turner

Professor of Genetics
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
University of Sheffield 
Sheffield S10 2TN
UK

I have carried out research on filamentous fungi such asAspergillus nidulans andPenicillium 
chrysogenum for about 35 years, on topics such as mitochondrial inheritance, methods for genetic manipulation of fungi, and genetics of penicillin biosynthesis.

Current research interests include the molecular genetics and genomics of secondary metabolism, and polar growth of filamentous fungi, especially Aspergillus nidulans and the opportunistic human and animal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus.

Secondary metabolism studies have been focussed on the structure and function of non ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS), exemplified by ACV synthetase, which assembles the 
tripeptide precursor of penicillin from constituent amino acids. This multienzyme complex is a member of a large family of enzymes which carry out non-ribosomal peptide synthesis in fungi and bacteria, making a wide variety of antibiotics and toxins. We have also investigated the phosphopantetheine transferases required for post-translational modification of peptide synthetases and polyketide synthases.

 Recent genome sequencing projects on A. nidulans and A. fumigatushave revealed an abundance of novel secondary metabolic gene clusters, and we are applying a combination of genetic and chemical approaches to determine their products, some of which have activity against mammalian cells.

Selected earlier publications

  • Rowlands, R.T. and Turner, G. (1976).  Maternal inheritance of extranuclear mitochondrial markers in Aspergillus nidulans.  Genet. Res., Camb. 28, 281-290.
  • Ballance, D.J., Buxton, F.P. and Turner, G. (1983).  Transformation of Aspergillus nidulans by the orotidine-5'-phosphate decarboxylase gene of Neurospora crassa.  Biochem. Res. Commun. 112, 284-289
  • Smith, D.J., Burnham, M.K.R., Bull, J.H., Hodgson, J.E., Ward, J.M., Browne, P., Brown, J. Barton, B., Earl, A.J. and Turner, G. (1990).  ß-lactam antibiotic biosynthetic genes have been conserved in clusters in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.  EMBO J. 9, 741-747.

Selected recent publications

  • Leeder, A.C. and Turner, G. (2007) Characterisation ofAspergillus nidulans polarisome component BemA.  Fungal Genetics and Biology  Dec 8 [Epub ahead of print]
  • Maiya, S.M., Grundman, A., Li. S.M., Li, X. & Turner, G. (2007) Identification of a hybrid PKS/NRPS required for pseurotin A biosynthesis in the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. Chembiochem 8 1736-43.
  • Pel, H.J. et al. (2007) Genome sequencing and analysis of the versatile cell factory Aspergillus niger CBS 513.88 Nature Biotechnology 25, 221-31.
  • Maiya, S.M., Grundman, A., Li, S.M. and Turner, G. (2006) The fumitremorgin gene cluster of Aspergillus fumigatus: identification of a cluster: identification of a gene encoding brevianamide F synthetase. Chembiochem, 7, 1062-1069
  • Johns, S.A., Leeder, A.C., Safaie, M. and Turner, G. (2006) Depletion of Aspergillus nidulans cotA causes a severe polarity defect which is not suppressed by the nuclear migration mutation nudA2. Molecular Genetics and Genomics, 275:593-604.
  • Nierman et al. (2005) Genomic sequence of the pathogenic and allergenic filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. Nature, 438, 1151-1156
  • Keller, N. P., Turner, G. and Bennett, J. W. (2005) Fungal secondary metabolism – from biochemistry to genomics. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 3, 937-947.
  • Gatherar, I., Pollerman, S., Dunn-Coleman, N. and Turner, G. (2004) Identification of a novel gene hbrB required for polarised growth in Aspergillus nidulans. Fungal Genetics and Biology 41, 463-471.
  • Keszenman-Pereyra, D., Lawrence, S., Twfieg, M.-E., Price, J. and Turner, G. (2003) The npgA/cfwA gene encodes a putative 4'-phosphopantetheinyl transferase which is essential for penicillin biosynthesis in Aspergillus nidulans. Curr Genet, 43, 186-190, 2003
  • Gatherar, I., Pollerman, S., Dunn-Coleman, N. and Turner, G. (2004) Identification of a novel gene hbrB required for polarised growth in Aspergillus nidulans. Fungal Genetics and Biology 41, 463-471.
  • Zarrin, M. Leeder, A., Turner, G. (2005) A rapid method for promoter exchange in Aspergillus nidulans using recombinant PCR. Fungal Genetics and Biology 42, 1-8.

    Contacts:

    Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
    University of Sheffield 
    Sheffield S10 2TN
    South Yorkshire 
    UK 
    Phone 0114 2226211
    [email protected]
    https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/mbb/staff/turner