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Investigating how the levels of queuine, a novel micronutrient, are associated with human ageing and brain health

Project Description

Project details:

Queuine is the only micronutrient that directly affects translation efficiency and accuracy in eukaryotes, with roles in metabolism and healthy-aging of the brain. Queuine (q) is a precursor of the tRNA modification Queuosine (Q) and is exclusively retrieved from ingested food and microflora. The Q modification is found at the wobble base (position 34) of cytoplasmic and mitochondrial tRNAs that incorporate Tyr, Asp, Asn and His amino acids. The importance of Q in mammalian physiology has recently emerged. Knowledge that tRNA hypomodification with queuine is a characteristic of rapidly-proliferating cells led to complete remission of multiple sclerosis in an animal model by feeding queuine analogs. More generally, increasing realization of the importance of tRNA modifications in neurological and mitochondrial diseases has led to a renewed interest in this exotic 7-deazapurine.

Basic questions on Q function remain unanswered, so this PhD project will establish targeted and non-targeted LC-MS-based methodologies to investigate the levels of q and Q in a wide array of human tissue and cell samples, and also the impact of deficiencies on the human metabolome. The acquisition of such knowledge is crucial to our understanding of human nutrition. The significance of these findings arise from the importance of the gut-brain axis in human health, aging and neurodegenerative disease, and more broadly, the impact of eukaryotic-bacterial symbiosis.

This project will be supervised by Dr Brian Green and Professor Gary Hardiman of Queen’s University Belfast School of Biological Sciences/Institute for Global Food Security.

Applications MUST be submitted through

Specific skills/experience required by applicants:

Full training will be provided, but previous experience in preparing samples and performing mass spectrometry would be beneficial.

All applicants must meet the academic entry requirements:

Funding Notes

Only UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Before applying, it is strongly recommended that you read the full information on eligibility criteria available from DfE: View Website.

Please note in particular that not all successful applicants may be eligible to receive a full studentship (i.e. fees and stipend) - please read in detail the Residency and Citizenship requirements in the document linked to above.

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.40

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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