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Charles Faust Ph.D.

Charles Faust, Ph.D.

Charles H. Faust, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Ph.D. Biochemistry
Colorado State University, 1966
Curriculum Vitae

Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
3601 4th Street, Mail Stop 6540
Lubbock, TX 79430
Phone: (806) 743-2031
Fax: (806) 743-2990

Research Interests

My current interests are on molecular and cellular mechanisms of the immune system in response to pathological and non-pathological threats to the host.

Current Projects

Research focus is on various aspects of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the immune system in response to potentially adverse pathological and non-pathological threats to the host. This resulted in pioneering work on immune gene structure and function with emphasis on IgE and its receptor and their roles in allergies, parasite immunity and mast cell biology. Studies of the pathogen, Clostridium difficile, provided insight into molecular mechanisms of toxin A and B production, biological activity and mechanism of toxicity. The innate immune response at the fetal-maternal interface, reflecting a non-pathological threat, is my most recent research focus.

We have observed that highly cytotoxic lymphocytes of the innate immune system, maternal natural killer (NK) cells, accumulate at the fetal-maternal interface in embryonic development – presumably a maternal response to the fetal allograft perceived as foreign by the mother. We have also observed a large maternal protein, cubilin, accumulates exclusively in the cytotoxic granules of the uterine NK cells, but not in other NK-cells. Consequently, our hypothesis is that cytotoxic uNK cell responses are dampened by molecular mechanisms involving cubilin, so the fetus can progress to term via a normal, healthy pregnancy. In contrast, without regulation of the maternal innate immune system, pregnancies may be aborted via aggressive uNK cells towards the fetal allograft. Thus, 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. Immunotherapy of some cancers might also become more efficacious and the severity of some autoimmune diseases may be reduced.

Selected Publications

  • 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. PubMed
  • 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, 1998. PubMed
  • 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. 47:309-316, 1998. PubMed
  • 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, 1996. PubMed
  • 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. PubMed
  • 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. 267:4904-4910, 1992. PubMed
  • Tian, S.S. and Faust, C. "A Simple and Precise, Aberrant Translocation of the Rat c-myc Gene into the e-Heavy Chain Switch Region of the IgE-producing Immunocytoma, IR162", J. Biol. Chem. 264: 1846-1853, 1989. PubMed
  • 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, 1987. PubMed
  • 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. PubMed