Loughborough University Featured PhD Programmes
Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured PhD Programmes
Loughborough University Featured PhD Programmes

Analysis of protein dynamics in S. cerevisiae and C. elegans


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Prof Anne Spang No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The temporally and spatially controlled localization of proteins at the plasma is critical for the growth and development of single cellular and multicellular organisms. The balance of secretory and endocytic activities is crucial in determining growth rates, domain establishment and polarity at the plasma membrane. Key regulators of protein and membrane traffic are small GTPases of the ras super family. The activation and inactivation of these small GTPases depend on guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and GTPase activating proteins (GAPs). The local restriction of these regulatory factors dictates the spatial activation of the GTPases.

In this project, we will determine the functional consequences of activating and inactivating small GTPases of the Arf and Rab families on polarized growth and development. In yeast, we will take advantage of two established light inducible targeting systems to regulate GTPase activity locally through GEFs and GAPs. We will establish GTPase-regulator circuits important for polarized growth in yeast. This knowledge, we will transfer into another highly polarized cell: the C. elegans zygote. We will determine the effect of functionally interfering with the homologous GTPase-regulator circuits on polarity establishment and maintenance from the zygote to the 4-cell stage using RNAi and CRISPR-Cas9 methodology. Finally, we will extend our findings to C. elegans intestinal epithelial cells.

Optogenetics, live cell imaging, molecular biology and biochemical techniques, CRISPR-Cas9, standard yeast and C. elegans techniques.

For more details please visit: https://polarnet-itn.eu/
As part of the project, the successful applicant will visit collaborating labs with in the PolarNet network to learn new techniques.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is part of the ITN PolarNet (https://polarnet-itn.eu/) and hence not open for students from Switzerland or applicants that are already in Switzerland.


Ackema KB, Hench J, Böckler S, Wang SC, Sauder U, Mergentaler H, et al. The small GTPase Arf1 modulates mitochondrial morphology and function. EMBO J. 2014 Nov 18;33(22):2659–75.
Ritz AM, Trautwein M, Grassinger F, Spang A. The prion-like domain in the exomer-dependent cargo Pin2 serves as a trans-Golgi retention motif. Cell Rep. 2014 Apr 10;7(1):249–60.
Poteryaev D, Datta S, Ackema K, Zerial M, Spang A. Identification of the switch in early-to-late endosome transition.

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