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EASTBIO Dynamic ubiquitin signalling coordinates transcriptional reprogramming in plant immunity

School of Biological Sciences

Dr S Spoel , Dr E Bayne Wednesday, January 06, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Dynamic regulation of gene expression is vital for all organisms and enables them to respond to the ever-changing environment. Plant cells display dramatic reprogramming of the transcriptome in response to pathogen attack, ensuring prioritisation of immune responses over normal cellular functions. The immunizing hormone salicylic acid (SA) plays indispensable roles in this process, establishing long-lasting disease resistance against future pathogen attack. Chemical and genetic approaches that impinge on SA signalling have been developed to combat economically costly plant diseases that threaten future food security. However, these protection strategies are often environmentally unsustainable or have penalties on plant growth and yield. Understanding how SA reprograms the transcriptome to establish durable immunity will enable the urgent design of improved sustainable technologies for crop protection.

Our team recently pioneered discoveries that demonstrate SA employs the small post-translational modifier, ubiquitin, to establish durable immunity. SA induces dynamic modification of regulatory proteins with ubiquitin chains of diverse linkage types, generating the potential to control their functions and activities. Understanding the relevance of distinct ubiquitin chain topologies and their protein targets is a major challenge and is only in its infancy in plants. In this project you will utilise proteomic, genomic and biochemical approaches to investigate how SA-induced ubiquitin signalling engages the transcriptional machinery, orchestrates chromatin permissiveness to allow gene expression, and utilises diverse chain linkage types to establish durable broad-spectrum immunity. In addition to advancing fundamental insights into dynamic ubiquitin signalling, this ambitious project will reveal how ubiquitin signalling can be harnessed to revolutionise plant protection strategies.

The School of Biological Sciences is committed to Equality & Diversity: https://www.ed.ac.uk/biology/equality-and-diversity

How to Apply:
The “Institution Website” button will take you to our Online Application checklist. Complete each step and download the checklist which will provide a list of funding options and guide you through the application process.

Funding Notes

This 4 year PhD project is part of a competition funded by EASTBIO BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership View Website. This opportunity is open to UK and International students and provides funding to cover stipend and UK level tuition fees. The fee difference will be covered by the University of Edinburgh for successful international applicants. Please refer to UKRI website (View Website) and Annex B of the UKRI Training Grant Terms and Conditions (View Website) for full eligibility criteria.
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