Professor Craft was awarded his PhD in the Department of Biochemistry at University College London and took up a research fellowship in the same department in 1972. He stayed at UCL until 1979 when he moved to the Department of Biological Sciences at the then Glasgow College of Technology and with a remit to establish research in a department still in its infancy. Working initially on mechanisms of chemical carcinogenesis in mammals in projects funded by the Cancer Research Campaign and the Leukaemia Research Fund his interests have evolved to include effects of environmental chemicals on wildlife. He was appointed Reader in 1988 and to a personal research chair in 1990.
Our research group is divided between those working on environmental projects and those working on human diseases (cancer and obesity).
Environmental work is directed at the development of novel molecular tools to monitor responses and effects of pollutants and stressors on aquatic organisms. Our interests include:
Targeted cloning of genes which respond to pollutants and has resulted in the isolation of probes for CYP1A, metallothionein (Mt), vitellogenin and zona radiata protein from many fish species. The probes have been used to monitor the effects of the Braer and Sea Empress oil spills, routine monitoring of the Clyde and monitoring associated with the UK Government-sponsored Endocrine Disruption in the Marine Environment (EDMAR) programme. This provided clear evidence for endocrine disruption in fish in English and Scottish estuaries.
On-going work is seeking links between exposure to endocrine disruptors and behavioural effects in the sand goby (collaboration with the University of Helsinki).
We are investigating the role of environmental stressors (chemicals and climate) in common mussel and have produced a number of cDNA libraries enriched for stress responsive genes. The most recent of these used styrene oxide as the stressor (collaboration with the University of the Basque Country, Balboa). These are being used to monitor mussels in several Scottish locations in work conducted with SEPA. Libraries enriched in gender-specific genes have also been produced and we are investigating their expression through a reproductive cycle.
Current work seeks to develop microarray technology as an environmental monitoring tool to assess impacts of chemicals on fish and common mussel. In work funded by NERC, we seek to understand how fish respond and develop tolerance to pollutants and the consequences of this for populations. We are working with a consortium (see Recent Grants) and have generated a number of normalized cDNA libraries for genes induced in stickleback by various chemicals. The clones have been used for a microarray study.
The results of the stickleback microarray study are being exploited to develop qPCR arrays for environmental monitoring in a NERC-funded Knowledge Transfer project with SEPA. Early results suggest that stickleback in the field, respond to contaminants at levels experienced in Scotland’s rivers and may prove useful in identifying and diagnosing water bodies subject to contamination, measuring pollution and highlighting unknown environmental pollution events.
Multiplicity and organization of vitellogenin genes in flat fish, sand goby and zebrafish. The regulation of expression of these genes is being studied along with how those mechanisms are disrupted by chemical exposure.
Pyrosequencing is being applied to mussel and has provided over 240000 sequences from various tissues of M edulis and M galloprovincialis.
Work on cancer investigates the disease in breast and other tissues. Recent observations on clonal origins of breast cancer indicate that current hypotheses of cancer aetiology are simplistic and clonal expansion does not adequately describe the process. We have also used p53 to demonstrate the heterogeneity of breast tumours and have identified a chromosomal locus for a tumour suppressor gene involved in up to 70% of breast tumours. Current work also seeks to define the aetiology of bladder cancer and specifically the role of schistosomal infections on that process.
Stearoyl-CoA desaturase is involved in the synthesis of membrane lipids and lipid reserves. We have cloned two desaturases, one of which is expressed at high levels in brain and may be involved in vital membrane synthesis in this organ. We speculate that deficiency of the brain enzyme may contribute to pathological conditions in the CNS. We are also investigating the role of the desaturases in obesity and recent work has indicated the special role of the enzyme in channelling lipids into triglycerides and cholesterol esters.
Recent Research Publications
Saaristo, M., Craft, J.A., Lehtonen, K.K., Björk, H. and Lindström K. (2009). Disruption of sexual selection in sand gobies (Pomatoschistus minutus) by 17α-ethinyl estradiol, an endocrine disruptor. Hormones and Behavior; in the press.
Brown, MM, Williams TD, Chipman JK, Katsiadaki I, Sanders M and Craft. JA. (2008). Construction of subtracted EST and normalised cDNA libraries from liver of chemical-exposed three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) containing pollutant responsive genes as a resource for transcriptome analysis. Mar. Environ Res: 66, 127-130.
Hines A , Yeung WH, Craft J, Brown M, Kennedy J, Bignell J, Stentiford GD and Viant MR. (2007). Comparison of Histological, Genetic, Metabolomic and Lipid-based Methods for Sex Determination in Marine Mussels. Analytical Biochem 369: 175-186.
Robinson CD, Brown E, Craft JA, Davies IM, Megginson C, Miller C and Moffat CF. (2007). Bioindicators and reproductive effects of prolonged 17β-oestradiol exposure in a marine fish, the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus). Aquatic Toxicol 81: 397-408.
Brown, M, Davies, I.M Moffat, C.M, Craft, J.A. (2006) Application of SSH and a macroarray to investigate altered gene expression in Mytilus edulis in response to exposure to benzo-a-pyrene Mar Environ Res: in the press.
Kassim S, Zoheiry N, Hamed W, Going J, Craft J. (2004) Androgen Receptor Gene Methylation and Exon One CAG Repeat Length in Ovarian Cancer: Differences from Breast Cancer. IUBMB Life. 56:417-26
Brown M, Robinson C, Davies IM, Moffat CF, Redshaw J, Craft JA. (2004). Temporal changes in gene expression in the liver of male plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) in response to exposure to ethynyl oestradiol analysed by macroarray and Real-Time PCR.
Mutat Res. 552:35-49.
Brown M, Davies IM, Moffat CF, Robinson C, Redshaw J, Craft JA. (2004). Identification of transcriptional effects of ethynyl oestradiol in male plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) by suppression subtractive hybridisation and a nylon macroarray.
Mar Environ Res. 58: 559-563.
Craft JA, Brown M, Dempsey K, Francey J, Kirby M, Scott AP, Katsiadaki I, Robinson CD, Davies IM, Bradac P and Moffat CF (2004). Kinetics of Vitellogenin Protein and mRNA Induction and Depuration in Fish Following Laboratory and Environmental Exposure to Oestrogens. Mar Environ Res. 58: 419-423.
Robinson CD, Craft JA, Moffat CF, Davies IM, Brown ES, and Megginson C (2004). Oestrogenic markers and reduced population fertile egg production in a sand goby partial life-cycle test. Mar Environ Res. 58: 147-150.
Robinson CD, Brown E, Craft JA, Davies IM, Moffat CF. (2004). Effects of prolonged exposure to 4-tert-octylphenol on toxicity and indices of oestrogenic exposure in the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus, Pallas). Mar Environ Res. 58:19-38.
Brown, M., Davies, I.M., Moffat, C. F., Redshaw, J., Craft, J.A. (2003) Characterisation of choline esterases and their tissue and subcellular distribution in mussel ( Mytilus edulis ). Mar Environ Res. 57: 155-169
C. D. Robinson, J. A. Craft, I. M. Davies, C. F. Moffat, D. Pirie, F. Robertson, E. Brown, R. M. Stagg, and S. Struthers (2002). Effects of sewage effluent and ethynyl oestradiol upon molecular markers of oestrogenic exposure, maturation and reproductive success in the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus, Pallas). Aquat Toxicol. 62: 119-134
M.F. Kirby, J. Bignell, E. Brown, J. Craft, I. Davies, R.A. Dyer, S.W. Feist, G. Jones, P. Matthiessen, F.E. Robertson, and C. Robinson (2002). The presence of morphologically intermediate papilla syndrome (MIPS) in UK populations of sand goby (Pomatoschistus spp.): Endocrine Disruption? Environ Toxicol Chem. 22: 239-51. .
P. Matthiessen, Y. Allen, S. Bamber, J. Craft, and others (2002). The impact of oestrogenic and androgenic contamination on marine organisms in the United Kingdom - summary of the EDMAR programme. Marine Environ Res. 54: 645-649 .
J. Snaddon, E. K. Parkinson, J. A. Craft, C. Bartholomew, R. Fulton (2001). Detection of functional PTEN lipid phosphatase protein and enzyme activity in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, despite loss of heterozygosity at this locus. Brit J Cancer 84. 1630-1634
J.A. Craft, F.E. Robertson, M.E, McPhail, E. Brown and R.M. Stagg (2001) Measurement of cytochrome P4501A induction in dab (Limanda limanda) and other teleosts with species-specific cDNA probes: isolation and characterization of dab cDNA and its use in expression studies with beta-naphthoflavone-treated fish. Comp Biochem Physiol. 129: 115-127
J.J. Going, H.M. Abdel-Monem and J.A. Craft (2001). Clonal origins of human breast cancer. J Pathol. 194: 406-412.
NERC: Translating Environmental Genomics outputs into Practical Use: Development of Biomonitoring tools using Quantitative, Real-time PCR Arrays. A Knowledge Transfer Project with SEPA to run 2008-2010. £100k
NERC: High-throughput sequencing of Mytilus edulis cDNAs: tissue-specific expression patterns. Access to pyrosequencing facility at Liverpool. 2008 £4k.
NERC 2005: Molecular and Genomic Ecotoxicology: Knowledge Transfer for chemical risk assessment, £50k with Prof JK Chipman and 2 others. Provides for KT to Environmental Agencies on application of post-genomic technologies.
NERC 2005: International Consortium on Fish Toxicogenomics with Prof JK Chipman and others £148k. Provides for International Workshops on standardisation of microarray platforms and protocols for fish ecotoxicology.
NERC project grant, "Identifying and defining the bases of individual and population susceptibility and adaptation to environmental pollutants in fish: An integrated "omic2 approach". '04-'07 £260k. This is an element of a consortium project, worth £1.6M with Universities of Birmingham, Exeter and Stirling, Fisheries Research Services, Aberdeen and The Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science , Weymouth awarded within NERC Environmental Genomics Thematic programme. A supplementary grant of £40k has recently been provided by NERC for sequence characterization of 10k fish clones that will be used for microarray construction.
SEPA project grant, "Construction and Evaluation of Genomic Array tools for Environmental Monitoring with common mussel ( Mytilus edulis )". '04-'05 £24k
Defra project grant, "Nuclear hormone receptors in marine invertebrates and the effects of endocrine disrupting compounds" in collaboration with Drs I Davies and C Moffat (FRS Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen), 2001-2004, £162,180.