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Professor of Genetics

John Cullum


Curriculum vitae:

  • 1978: Ph.D. University of Edinburgh (UK)
  • 1978-1980: Postdoctoral fellow with Heinz Saedler at the University of Freiburg and Max-Planck-Institut für Züchtungsforschung, Cologne (Germany)
  • 1981-1987: Lecturer in Applied Molecular Biology at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UK)
  • since 1988: Professor of Genetics, Department of Biology, University of Kaiserslautern, Head of the Genetics Group

Major Research Interest:

The actinomycetes are an important group of Gram+ve bacteria. They include soil bacteria that grow in a mycelial form and produce many antibiotics and other compounds of pharmceutical importance (e.g. the antibiotics oxytetracycline and rifamycin, the antiparasitic avermectin and the immune suppressant rapamycin). These species often show genetic instability, which may involve large-scale genome rearrangements (deletions and DNA amplifications). Unlike most other bacteria they often have linear chromosomes. The research interests of the group includes studying the mechanisms of genetic instability and the genome structures including the functions of the chromosome ends. Methods are being developed to manipulate larger DNA regions, which is important for the large antibiotic clusters. A more recently started project uses bioinformatics to characterise potential recombination sites between antibiotics clusters, which could result in the formation of new products. There is active international collaboration with research groups in Zagreb (Croatia) and Delhi (India).

Selected Recent Publications:


  • Dhingra G, Kumari R, Bala S, Majumdar S, Malhotra S, Sharma P, Lal S, Cullum J, Lal R (2003) Development of cloning vectors and transformation methods for Amycolatopsis. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 30:195-204.

  • Tupath, H, Pfeiffer J, Pfeifer I, Deckbar D, Fleige T, Peitz H, Cullum J (2002) A computer program to model recombination between modular polyketide clusters. pp. 291-295, Proceedings of the 4th Croatian Congress of Food Technologists, Biotechnologists and Nutritionists.

  • Stoll A., Cullum J. (2000) Improved method for the isolation and visualization of terminal protein-bound DNA fragments in actinomycetes. Bio Techniques 29: 740-745

  • Yamasaki M., Miyashita K., Cullum J., Kinashi H. (2000) A Complex Insertion Sequence Cluster at a Point of Interaction between the Linear Plasmid SCP1 and the Linear Chromosome of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). J Bacteriol 182: 3104-3110.

  • Felder M., Gupta A., Verma V., Kumar A., Qazi G.N., Cullum J. (2000) The pyrroloquinoline quinone synthesis genes of Gluconobacter oxydans. FEMS Microbiol Letter 193: 231-236.