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Involvement of P2X7 receptors in cancer

   Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The P2X receptors are a family of ligand-gated receptor channels activated by ATP and other extracellular nucleotides. A member of this family, the P2X7 purinergic receptor has been shown to play a crucial role in various physiological and pathophysiological processes. Numerous studies have investigated the importance of this receptor in cell survival and have suggested the receptor is overexpressed in several tumours. The current literature however proposes two opposing hypotheses for the involvement of P2X7 in the progression of cancer: either acting as an anti-tumour protein or a tumour promoter.

The main aims of this project are to therefore:
1) Determine the expression levels of P2X7 in vitro
2) Elucidate the importance of receptor activation/inhibition on cell survival
3) Identify the effects of receptor knockdown on cell survival

Candidates should possess or aim to obtain an Upper Second Class or higher in a relevant field. A Masters level qualification or research experience is desirable but not essential. Candidates should be highly motivated and committed and have an interest in cancer biology.

The successful candidate will acquire skills in a range of molecular, cellular and biochemical techniques including cell culture, viability and functional assays, western blotting, siRNA, PCR, immunofluorescence and enzymatic assays.

Funding Notes

There is no funding for this project: applications can only be accepted from self-funded candidates


1. Adinolfi, E. et al. Mol. Biol. Cell 16, 3270-3272 (2005)
2. Adinolfi, E. et al. J. Biol. Chem. 284, 10120-10128 (2009)
3. Giannuzzo, A. et al. Mol. Cancer. 14, doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1186%2Fs12943-015-0472-4 (2015).

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