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Characterization of the mitochondrial DNA segregation machinery in Trypanosoma brucei

About This PhD Project

Project Description

We study mitochondrial genome segregation in Trypanosoma brucei a single celled eukaryote that contains one mitochondrion with a singular mitochondrial genome per cell. In the last five years, we and others have made some progress in understanding the mitochondrial DNA segregation machinery in Trypanosoma brucei. We have identified and characterized a novel mitochondrial DNA segregation factor that we named TAC102 and elucidated the hierarchy and assembly of the mitochondrial DNA segregation machinery. Based on our studies TAC102 is the kDNA most proximal protein and thus a good candidate to uncover the mitochondrial "kinetochore" and eventually also the mitochondrial "centromere". For this we have applied a number of different approaches including BioID and immunoprecipitation techniques. Overall, we have identified more than 30 proteins that interact with TAC102 and thus the TAC at different levels.

The PhD project is aimed at understanding the complex structure of the TAC and its target binding sequence on the mitochondrial genome. The student will be using a variety of approaches including super resolution microscopy, blue native gel electrophoresis and molecular biology techniques.

PhD position for three/four years, starting March 2019, in the Ochsenreiter lab, at the Institute of Cell Biology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. Pay is according to the rules of the Swiss National Science Foundation. Student will be enrolled in the Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB) at the University of Bern.

The ideal candidate has experience in biochemical and molecular biology and or imaging approaches. Lab language is English.

For application please send motivational letter and CV to:

More information under:


Amodeo S, Jakob M, Ochsenreiter T. Characterization of the novel mitochondrial genome replication factor MiRF172 in Trypanosoma brucei. J Cell Sci. 2018;131
Hoffmann A, Käser S, Jakob M, Amodeo S, Peitsch C, Týc J, et al. Molecular model of the mitochondrial genome segregation machinery in Trypanosoma brucei. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018;115
Trikin R, Doiron N, Hoffmann A, Haenni B, Jakob M, Schnaufer A, et al. TAC102 Is a Novel Component of the Mitochondrial Genome Segregation Machinery in Trypanosomes. PLoS Pathog. 2016;12
Schneider A, Ochsenreiter T. Failure is not an option - mitochondrial genome segregation in trypanosomes. J Cell Sci. 2018;131

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