Professor John Hopkins

The Roslin Institute

Research Interests

The research interest of the Hopkins Group is the molecular immunology and genetics of endemic gastrointestinal diseases of livestock. Of particular interest are:

  • Teladorsagia circumcincta, a major cause of sheep parasitic gastroenteritis.
  • Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (Map), the causative agent of paratuberculosis or Johne’s disease.  
  • Salmonella enterica, common cause of zoonotic bacterial enteritis.

For both T circumcincta and Map there is an immunogenetic basis of disease. Resistance and susceptibility to parasitic gastroenteritis is determined by the ability of the sheep to develop the ‘correct’ type of immune response. This is genetically determined. Animals that develop aTh2 T cell response produce high levels of anti-parasite antibody and control infection. Sheep that develop an inflammatory Th1/Th17 response do not generate protective antibody and are susceptible.

Sheep also show differential responses to mycobacteria. Animals that produce a Th2 response and antibody develop multibacillary paratuberculosis and fail to control infection. Sheep that produce a Th1 inflammatory response develop paucibacillary paratuberculosis and control infection.

The fundamental aim of the group is to identify physiological pathways, genes and gene variants that are associated with responses that lead to different disease outcomes.

Selected Publications

  • Anton Gossner, Hazel Wilkie, Anagha Joshi, John Hopkins. 2013. Exploring the abomasal lymph node transcriptome for genes associated with resistance to the sheep nematode Teladorsagia circumcincta. Veterinary Research Vol: 44. More»
  • Lauren Campbell, Andrew C. Gill, Gillian McGovern, Clara M. O. Jalland, John Hopkins, Michael A. Tranulis, Nora Hunter, Wilfred Goldmann. 2013. The PrPC Cl fragment derived from the ovine A(136)R(154)R(171) PRNP allele is highly abundant in sheep brain and inhibits fibrillisation of full-length PrPC protein in vitro. Biochimica et biophysica acta-Molecular basis of disease Vol: 1832 Pages: 826-836. More»
  • A. G. Gossner, V. M. Venturina, A. Peers, C. A. Watkins, J. Hopkins. 2012. Expression of sheep interleukin 23 (IL23A, alpha subunit p19) in two distinct gastrointestinal diseases. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology Vol: 150 Pages: 118-122. More»
  • King S. Nalubamba, Anton G. Gossner, Robert G. Dalziel, John Hopkins. 2008. Differential expression of pattern recognition receptors during the development of foetal sheep. Developmental and Comparative Immunology Vol: 32 Pages: 869-874. More»
  • J A Smeed, C A Watkins, A G Gossner, J Hopkins. 2010. Expression profiling reveals differences in immuno-inflammatory gene expression between the two disease forms of sheep paratuberculosis. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology Vol: 135 Pages: 218-25. More»
  • King Nalubamba, Jennifer Smeed, Anton Gossner, Craig Watkins, Robert Dalziel, John Hopkins. 2008. Differential expression of pattern recognition receptors in the three pathological forms of sheep paratuberculosis. Microbes and Infection Vol: 10 Pages: 598-604. More»
  • Anton Gossner, James Foster, Nora Hunter, John Hopkins. 2009. Candidate gene analysis in distinct regions of the central nervous system during the development of SSBP/1 sheep scrapie. More»
  • Anton G. Gossner, Virginia M. Venturina, Darren J. Shaw, Josephine M. Pemberton, John Hopkins. 2012. Relationship between susceptibility of Blackface sheep to Teladorsagia circumcincta infection and an inflammatory mucosal T cell response. Veterinary Research Vol: 43 Pages: -. More»
  • Anton G. Gossner, Jim D. Foster, John K. Fazakerley, Nora Hunter, John Hopkins. 2011. Gene expression analysis in distinct regions of the central nervous system during the development of SSBP/1 sheep scrapie. Veterinary Microbiology Vol: 147 Pages: 42-48. More»
  • Anton Gossner, Anna Peers, Virginia Venturina, John Hopkins. 2011. Expressed gene sequences of two variants of sheep interleukin-25. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology Vol: 139 Pages: 319-323. More»
  • J. M. Pemberton, D. Beraldi, B. H. Craig, J. Hopkins. 2011. Digital gene expression analysis of gastrointestinal helminth resistance in Scottish blackface lambs. Molecular Ecology Vol: 20 Pages: 910-919. More»
  • L. McCulloch, K.L. Brown, B.M. Bradford, J. Hopkins, M. Bailey, K. Rajewsky, J.C. Manson, N.A. Mabbott. 2011. Follicular Dendritic Cell-Specific Prion Protein (PrP) Expression Alone Is Sufficient to Sustain Prion Infection in the Spleen. PLoS Pathogens Vol: 7. More»
  • C.S. Levy, J. Hopkins, G.C. Russell, R. Dalziel. 2012. Novel virus-encoded microRNA molecules expressed by ovine herpesvirus 2 immortalized bovine T cells. Journal of General Virology Vol: 93 Pages: 150-154. More»
  • C.A. Watkins, A. Mackellar, D. Frew, C. Mackie, A. George, J. Hopkins, S.T.G. Burgess, T.N. McNeilly, J.F. Huntley. 2009. Gene expression profiling of ovine keratinocytes stimulated with Psoroptes ovis mite antigen - a preliminary study. Parasite Immunology Vol: 31 Pages: 304-311. More»
  • Anton Gossner, Sofia Roupaka, Jim Foster, Nora Hunter, John Hopkins. 2011. Transcriptional profiling of peripheral lymphoid tissue reveals genes and networks linked to SSBP/1 scrapie pathology in sheep. Veterinary Microbiology Vol: 153 Pages: 218-228. More»
  • C. Watkins, A. McKellar, Kirsty Jensen, Abraham George, D. Jones, M. J. Sharp, K. Stevenson, J. Hopkins. 2008. Development and validation of an oligonucleotide microarray for immuno-inflammatory genes of ruminants. Veterinary Research Communications Vol: 32 Pages: 647-657. More»
  • D. Beraldi, B. H. Craig, S. C. Bishop, J. Hopkins, J. M. Pemberton. 2008. Phenotypic analysis of host-parasite interactions in lambs infected with Teladorsagia circumcincta. Int J Parasitol Pages: 1567-77. More»
  • A. G. Gossner, N. Bennet, N. Hunter, J. Hopkins. 2009. Differential expression of Prnp and Sprn in scrapie infected sheep also reveals Prnp genotype specific differences. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications Vol: 378 Pages: 862-6. More»