Charles Faust Ph.D.
I received my Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster,
Pa., in 1964. After a 2-year tour of duty in the U.S. Army, I enrolled in 1966 at
Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, in the Biochemistry Ph.D. Graduate
Program, specializing in immunochemistry, which I completed in 1969. In 1970 I began
my postdoctoral studies in the Department of Molecular Biology in Goettingen, Germany,
working with Dr. Heinrich Matthaei at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine.
I moved to the Department of Pathology at the University of Geneva in 1971 to continue
my postdoctoral work on the molecular biology of the immune system with Drs. Pierre
Vassalli and Bernard Mach. I then accepted a faculty position in the Departments of
Surgery, Biochemistry and Microbiology & Immunology at Oregon Health Sciences University
from 1974 through 1983. I subsequently moved to the Department of Biochemistry and
Medical Genetics at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas.
Career highlights include a National Institutes of Health Career Development Award,
and national level research funding from the NIH, National Science Foundation and
American Cancer Society, in addition to numerous regional and local research awards.
I have served on NIH, NSF, ACS and American Heart Association grant review panels.
I enjoy teaching medical and graduate students and I have served on the dissertation
committees of more than 110 students during my academic career. In 1990 I received
the TTUHSC Excellence in Teaching Award.
My research interests are quite varied, but they focus on molecular and cellular mechanisms
of the immune system in response to potentially adverse challenges to the host, including
both pathological and non-pathological threats. This resulted in pioneering work on
immune gene structure and function with emphasis on IgE and its receptor and their
role in allergies, parasite immunity and mast cell biology. Work on molecular mechanisms
of production, biological activity and toxicity of toxins A and B made by Clostridium
difficile are also included here. Finally, function of the innate immune response
at the fetal-maternal interface is the most recent focus of my research attention.
We have observed that maternal natural killer (NK) cells, highly cytotoxic lymphocytes,
accumulate extensively at the fetal-maternal interface during embryonic development,
presumably in response to the fetal allograft perceived as foreign by the mother.
We have also observed that a large maternal protein, cubilin, accumulates exclusively
in the cytotoxic granules of these uterine NK cells. Therefore, our hypothesis is
that uNK cells are held in check by molecular mechanisms operating at the cellular
level, potentially involving cubilin, so that the fetus can progress to term through
a normal, healthy pregnancy. In contrast, when regulation of maternal innate immune
system becomes faulty, pregnancies may be aborted via aggression of uNK cells towards
the fetal allograft. Therefore, understanding the basic mechanism(s) of NK cell regulation
may be helpful for maintaining a normal healthy pregnancy, and eventually for reducing
tissue transplant rejection, making immunotherapy of cancer more efficacious and reducing
the severity of some autoimmune diseases.
- Tian, S.S. and Faust, C. "Rearrangement of Rat Immunoglobulin E Heavy-Chain and c-myc
Genes in the B-Cell Immunocytoma IR162", Molec. Cell. Biol. 7: 2614-2619, 1987.
- Stenzel-Poore, M.P., Hall, T.J., Heusser, C.H., Faust, C.H. and Rittenberg, M.B. "Immunologic
Memory to PC-KLH: Participation of the Q52 VH Gene Family", J. Immunol. 139: 1698-1703,
- Tian, S.S. and Faust, C. "A Simple and Precise, Aberrant Translocation of the Rat
c-myc Gene into the ε-Heavy Chain Switch Region of the IgE-producing Immunocytoma,
IR162", J. Biol. Chem. 264: 1846-1853, 1989.
- McMillan, D.R. and C. Faust. "The Expression and Characterization of Rat IgE Produced
by Construction of the Epsilon Heavy Chain Gene from Exon Modules." J. Biol. Chem.
- Witthuhn, B.A. and Faust, C. "Tissue Specific Expression in Mouse P815 Mastocytoma
Cells of the Cloned Rat Alpha Subunit Gene of the High Affinity Receptor for IgE,"
Immunol. Letters 47:39-43, 1995.
- Witthuhn, B.A. and Faust, C. "Isolation and Characterization of the Beta Subunit Gene
of the High Affinity Receptor for Immunoglobulin E," Molecular Immunology 33:881-890,
- Song, K.P. and Faust, C. "Molecular Analysis of the Promoter Region of the Clostridium
difficile Toxin B Gene That Is Functional in Escherichia coli", J. Med. Microbiol.
- Faust, C., Ye, B. and Song, K.P. "The Enzymatic Domain of Clostridium difficile Toxin
A Is Located within Its N-Terminal Region," Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 251:100-105,
- Crider-Pirkle, S., Billingsley, P., Faust, C., Hardy, D.M., Lee, V., and Weitlauf,
H. "Cubilin: A Binding Partner for Galectin-3 in the Murine Utero-Placental Complex,"
J. Biol. Chem. 277, 15904-15912, 2002.