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Functional analysis of CIZ1

Department of Biology

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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Prof D Coverley No more applications being accepted Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

We are interested in the structure, function and disease implications of the CIZ1 protein, and related factors involved in organisation of the mammalian cell nucleus. Recent work has focussed on its interaction with Xist long non-coding RNA 1 2, and its role in the maintenance of chromatin modifications at the inactive X chromosome (Xi) 3. This project will continue to exploit Xi as a model system and explore the interaction between CIZ1 and regulatory factors that modulate it’s function in the cell cycle. The goal is to understand the impact of changes in CIZ1 that are common in human cancers 4 5, and to assess the extent to which these destabilise epigenetic state in early stage tumours. Core techniques will be mammalian cell culture and synchronisation, molecular biology techniques to generate expression vectors, immunofluorescence microscopy and quantitative image analysis. Further opportunities exist for transcriptomic analysis or biochemical approaches, depending on interests and the needs of the project.

1. Ridings-Figueroa, R. et al. The nuclear matrix protein CIZ1 facilitates localization of Xist RNA to the inactive X-chromosome territory. Genes Dev 31, 876-888 (2017).
2. Sunwoo, H., Colognori, D., Froberg, J.E., Jeon, Y. & Lee, J.T. Repeat E anchors Xist RNA to the inactive X chromosomal compartment through CDKN1A-interacting protein (CIZ1). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114, 10654-10659 (2017).
3. Stewart, E.R. et al. Maintenance of epigenetic landscape requires CIZ1 and is corrupted in differentiated fibroblasts in long-term culture. Nat Commun 10, 460 (2019).
4. Higgins, G. et al. Variant Ciz1 is a circulating biomarker for early-stage lung cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109, E3128-3135 (2012).
5. Rahman, F.A., Aziz, N. & Coverley, D. Differential detection of alternatively spliced variants of Ciz1 in normal and cancer cells using a custom exon-junction microarray. BMC Cancer 10, 482 (2010).

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded project. Applicants need to have adequate funds to meet the costs of a self-funded research project including tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of the research programme. Please see information on tuition fee costs, living expenses and funding opportunities.


Applications are welcome for either for a 1-year MSc by Research or for a 3-year PhD.
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