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Controlling the switch between centrosomes and cilia: how cells prevent ciliogenesis when it’s not required

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Wilkinson
    Dr D Mann
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Cilia are hair-like organelles that project from the surface of many cells. They act as signalling masts, housing receptors that are essential for communication and environmental sensing. The cilium consists of hundreds of components and many of them are required for cilium construction and maintenance. Cilia employ many of the same components as centrosomes and these two organelles are, in fact, mutually exclusive with only one type present in cells at any one time. Thus, switching between cilia and centrosomes is critical, particularly during the cell cycle. We identified BCAP as a dedicated ciliogenesis inhibitor and hypothesise that BCAP is a key intermediary linking ciliogenesis with proliferative control. This project will investigate the precise mechanism by which BCAP achieves inhibition, exploiting the expertise at Royal Holloway and Imperial. Roles in autophagy and vesicle trafficking will be tested. We will determine the protein partners of BCAP through proteomic studies. We will investigate how BCAP is subject to cell cycle control through phosphorylation by protein kinases known to control ciliogenesis using biochemical, proteomic and chemical genetic approaches. These experiments will uncover the roles and regulation of BCAP, elucidating the linkage between ciliogenesis and proliferative control, a fundamental aspect of human cell biology.

Please visit our BBSRC DTP webpage to obtain more information on how to apply. Applications are due no later than Tuesday, 15 January 2019. Shortlisted candidates will be notified in early February to schedule an in-person interview during the weeks of 11-22 February, 2019. Any questions about the application process should be sent to [Email Address Removed]. To contact the supervisors see ‘email now’ link below

Funding Notes

The BBSRC DTP studentship award will cover the cost of institutional tuition fees for both degrees supplemented by institutional support for those in a Masters programme. The funding also provides an annual tax-free living stipend with at the standard RCUK rate with London weighting. The amount is currently at £16,777pa for the 18/19 Academic Year. Additional funds are provided yearly towards the cost of research, conference attendance, and other relevant training.


de Saram et al., 2017, BCAP is a centriolar satellite protein and inhibitor of ciliogenesis, Journal of Cell Science, 130, 3360-3373, doi:10.1242/jcs.196642

Stowe, TR, Wilkinson, CJ, Iqbal, A & Stearns, T (2012) The centriolar satellite proteins Cep72 and Cep290 interact and are required for recruitment of BBS proteins to the cilium. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 23(17): 3322-35. doi:10.1091/mbc.e12-02-0134

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