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Dissecting the proviral functions of Jmjd6 in influenza A virus infection

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  • Full or part time
    Prof A Lengeling
    Prof P Digard
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Influenza A viruses (IAV) cause annual epidemics and are a major threat for public health and the global economy. To grow inside cells the virus relies on host cell machinery to promote viral gene expression and virus replication. Although many high-throughput screens have identified host proteins that are essential for virus replication there is still a limited understanding of how these factors contribute to a successful virus life cycle and how they are co-opted by the virus.

We have recently identified that the jumonji domain containing protein 6 (Jmjd6) is a cellular host factor required for viral growth. Jmjd6 is a nuclear hydroxylase which interacts with transcription initiation factors and spliceosomal components and thereby regulates host gene expression (Webby et al. 2009, Liu et al. 2013). Cells that lack Jmjd6 show defects in IAV gene and protein expression and show consequently reduced production of new virions. The objective of this PhD project is to investigate at which step of the viral life cycle Jmjd6 is required for viral growth. Potentially Jmjd6 could impact on viral gene expression by influencing transcriptional initiation, processing of viral mRNAs (pre-mRNA splicing) or by affecting shutteling of viral ribonucleoprotein complexes into the nucleus. This project will use CRISPR-Cas9 edited Jmjd6-deficient cells and Jmjd6 expression reporter constructs as tools to functionally dissect these different possibilities for Jmjd6-virus interactions. This will involve imaging of viral infections by confocal microscopy, immunoprecipitation of host and virus candidate interactor proteins, and assays that investigate viral and host RNA expression. For this we are offering training in biochemistry, virology, molecular biology and in genetics of host-pathogen interactions. We have recently generated conditional Jmjd6 knockout mice. This new allele will allow us to delete Jmjd6 in IAV host target cells and to characterise the importance of the protein for the infection process in vivo. We will use imaging technologies to track and compare the dynamics of IVA infection in Jmjd6-deficient and wild type mice. Training will be provided in two-photon laser scanning intravital microscopy, bioluminescence imaging, and histopathology.

All candidates should have or expect to have a minimum of an appropriate upper 2nd class degree. To qualify for full funding students must be UK or EU citizens who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to commencement.

Funding Notes

Applications including a full CV with names and addresses (including email addresses) of two academic referees, should be sent to: Liz Archibald, Postgraduate Research Student Administration, The Roslin Institute and R(D)SVS, The University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Midlothian, EH25 9RG. Or emailed to [Email Address Removed]. When applying for the studentship please state clearly the title of the studentship and the supervisors in your covering letter.


Dubois et al. (2014): Influenza viruses and mRNA splicing: doing more with less. MBio 5(3):e00070-14.

Webby et al. (2009): Jmjd6 catalyses Lysyl-hydroxylation of U2AF65 - a protein associated with RNA splicing. Science 325: 90-93.

Liu et al. (2013): Brd4 and JMJD6-associated anti-pause enhancers in regulation of transcriptional pause release. Cell 155: 1581-1595.

Related Subjects

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