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Molecular architecture of a DNA transfer machinery and its contribution to the dissemination of antibiotic resistance


   Faculty of Natural Sciences

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  Prof T Forsyth, Dr D Traore  Applications accepted all year round

About the Project

Project title: Molecular architecture of a DNA transfer machinery and its contribution to the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes
The transfer of large toxin and antibiotic resistance plasmids in Clostridium perfringens is mediated by the tcp conjugation locus. Functional genetic analysis of the tcp locus of the paradigm plasmid pCW3 has revealed that its gene products assemble into a multi-protein complex that distantly resembles a type 4 secretion system (T4SS). To understand how pCW3 is recognized and transferred we use an integrated structural biology framework combined to molecular genetic studies (Porter et al. 2012, Wisniewski, J. A. et al. 2017, Traore D. et al. 2018).

We continue to produce other components of the conjugative transfer system with the aim to further study them using a combination of Small Angle X-ray Scattering, Small Angle Neutron Scattering, X-ray crystallography and cryo-Electron Microscopy. The PhD student will further develop this research project taking advantage of the large instruments of the European Photon and Neutron (EPN) campus to unravel the molecular mechanism of conjugative DNA transfer. The project will also develop tools to combine Cryo-EM with neutron scattering techniques.

Selection Criteria

The ideal candidate should be familiar with molecular biology techniques (cloning, site directed mutagenesis) and recombinant protein production. Knowledge of biophysical tools is a plus but not essential.

Thesis environment
The PhD student will be enrolled at Keele University. The work will be carried out 100 % at ILL (Grenoble, France) with visits to Keele University as needed. Coursework equivalence in Grenoble is in place.

Application procedure
Closing date: This application is OPEN until the position is filled.

In addition to the Keele University standard procedure (https://www.keele.ac.uk/study/postgraduateresearch/studentships/structuralbiologymolecularbiologybiochemistrycryoemneutronscattingbiologyandhealth/). Please send a cover letter (2 pages max) describing a summary of your previous laboratory experience, your motivation and the contact details (email and phone number) of two persons we can contact for additional references.

Please quote FNS 2020-01 (ILL207_27) on your application.

Funding Notes

3 years' fully funded project. UK/EU tuition fees and stipend covered for 3 years from academic year 2020/2021. Tuition fees support from the School of Life Sciences, Keele University.

STIPEND
Subsistence support from Insitut Laue-Langevin for all 3 years. The rate and employment conditions are explained here https://www.ill.eu/careers/all-our-vacancies/phd-recruitment/phd-work-at-the-ill/

Source of funding
Subsistence support from Institut Laue-Langevin for all 3 years.
Tuition fees support from the School of Life Sciences, Keele University.

Eligibility criteria
UK/EU nationals are eligible for full tuition fees support. International students may qualify for a stipend-only award.


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