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Cryo-Electron Microscopy of Histone Deacetylase Complexes


About This PhD Project

Project Description

Histone deacetylase complexes play a role in many cellular processes, such as cancer, cell cycle progression and DNA repair. Investigating how these HDAC complexes act to control gene expression and their interactions with other proteins should lead to an understanding of their influence in the cell. HDAC inhibitors are currently used to treat some cancers. An understanding of the structure and function of the various histone deacetylase complexes should mean that inhibitors can be designed to specific complexes to reduce side effects.

Histone deacetylase complexes play a role in many cellular processes, such as cancer, cell cycle progression and DNA repair. Investigating how these HDAC complexes act to control gene expression and their interactions with other proteins should lead to an understanding of their influence in the cell. HDAC inhibitors are currently used to treat some cancers. An understanding of the structure and function of the various histone deacetylase complexes should mean that inhibitors can be designed to specific complexes to reduce side effects.

The Schwabe group have been successful in expressing and purifying the core of many HDAC complexes in HEK293F cells in sufficient quantity for structural studies. This has led to a number of structures of HDAC complexes using X-ray crystallography and negative stain electron microscopy. In addition the structure of the HDAC3/SMRT complex led to the discovery that class I histone deacetylases are activated by inositol phosphates.

There has recently been a revolution in Cryo-Electron Microscopy, which means that large protein and protein complex structures that previously could not be crystallised can now be solved at atomic resolution. The aim of this PhD project is to solve the structure of histone deacetylase complexes using Cryo-electron microscopy and to fully understand the structure of the different HDAC complexes, their interaction with chromatin and their interaction with other components involved in transcription. An understanding of the structure of the different HDAC complexes may lead to the design of more specific histone deacetylase inhibitors.

Eligibility:
UK/EU applicants only.

Entry requirements:
Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject.
The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable: https://le.ac.uk/study/research-degrees/entry-reqs/eng-lang-reqs/ielts-65

How to apply:
Please refer carefully to the application guidance and apply using the online application link at https://le.ac.uk/study/research-degrees/funded-opportunities/bbsrc-mibtp

Project / Funding Enquiries:
Application enquiries to
Closing date for applications: Sunday 12th January 2020

References

Millard CJ, Varma N, Saleh A, Morris K, Watson PJ, Bottrill AR, Fairall L, Smith CJ & Schwabe JW (2016) The structure of the core NuRD repression complex provides insights into its interaction with chromatin. eLife 5: e13941

Watson PJ, Millard CJ, Riley AM, Robertson NS, Wright LC, Godage HY, Cowley SM, Jamieson AG, Potter BVL & Schwabe JWR (2016) Insights into the activation mechanism of class I HDAC complexes by inositol phosphates. Nature Communications 7: 11262

Kalin, J.H., Wu, M., Gomez, A.V., Song, Y., Das, J., Hayward, D., Adejola, N., Wu, M., Panova, I., Chung, H.J., Kim, E., Roberts, H.J., Roberts, J.M., Prusevich, P., Jeliazkov, J.R., Roy Burman, S.S., Fairall, L., Milano, C., Eroglu, A., Proby, C.M., Dinkova-Kostova, A.T., Hancock, W.W., Gray, J.J., Bradner, J.E., Valente, S., Mai, A., Anders, N.M., Rudek, M.A., Hu, Y., Ryu, B., Schwabe, J.W.R., Mattevi, A., Alani, R.M., Cole, P.A., (2018). Targeting the CoREST complex with dual histone deacetylase and demethylase inhibitors. Nature Communications 9, 53.

Zhang, T., Wei, G., Millard, C.J., Fischer, R., Konietzny, R., Kessler, B.M., Schwabe, J.W.R., Brockdorff, N., (2018). A variant NuRD complex containing PWWP2A/B excludes MBD2/3 to regulate transcription at active genes. Nature Communications 9, 3798.

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