Immunology, Plant Bioinformatics & Molecular Systematics, Plant Pathogen Detection & Evolution
Investigations into the evolution of viruses and bacterial pathogens of potatoes and fruit trees and their detection.
Plant molecular systematic and evolutionary studies of plant groups that occur in southern Africa focusing on the Cape Floral Region.
The development of DNA vaccines against ostrich mycoplasmas.
Apart from his roles in the Centre for Studies in Complexity and in the Fellowship and Programme Committee of STIAS, the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Prof Jannie Hofmeyr is also a member of the Triple-J Group with Proff. Johann Rohwer and Jacky Snoep. The Triple-J Group group studies the control and regulation of cellular processes using theory, computer modelling and experimental approaches.
Steroid receptors and gene expression, Natural products
Our research focus is on steroid hormone binding proteins, specifically the steroid hormone transport proteins in serum and intracellular steroid hormone receptors. The interplay between these two categories of steroid hormone binding proteins, whether elicited by drugs or physiological conditions, has been neglected in an era of specialization despite the obvious physiological relevance.
Our primary focus is on adrenal steroidogenesis – on the hormones produced by the adrenal gland as well as on the steroidogenic enzymes which catalyse their biosynthesis. Stemming from this interest are our investigations into (i) the downstream metabolism of adrenal C19 steroids in prostate cancer and (ii) the biosynthesis and downstream metabolism of adrenal steroids implicated in endocrine disorders. Adrenal steroidogenic pathways are studied by the heterologous expression of enzymes, together with investigations into the metabolism of steroids in adrenal and prostate cell models. These metabolic pathways also form the basis of our ongoing studies into the biological activities of natural plant products and their influence on the human endocrine system.
Steroid hormones play an essential role in the regulation of normal mammalian physiology, regulating processes such as metabolism, inflammation, immune function, salt and water balance, stress management and reproduction. Steroid hormones are produced by the process of steroidogenesis which involves a number of specific cytochrome P450 (CYP) and hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD) enzymes. Our group focusses on the study of mammalian steroidogenesis, with particular interests in the effect of natural plant products on CYP and HSD enzymes; the regulation of steroidogenesis by accessory proteins such as cytochrome b5; the effect of mutations on steroid production; and the role of adrenal steroid hormones in the development and progression of prostate cancer.
Water research: Membrane applications for the monitoring and improvement of water quality.