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Role of m6A reader proteins in virus infection

Project Description

RNA is an intermediate molecule in the flow of genetic information from DNA to protein. It is a critical junction for the cell to regulate gene expression, through multiple RNA processing events.
Emerging evidence suggests that modifications on RNAs can regulate these events. The most common RNA modification is m6A methylation. m6A functions by recruiting m6A reader proteins directly to methylated RNAs, once bound the reader proteins then dictate the fate of the RNA.
We have recently shown that viruses manipulate the host cell m6A machinery enhancing their own replication (Baquero et al., 2019, eLife 8:e47261). We have identified a novel group of m6A reader proteins that specifically recognize viral methylated RNAs. This project will now address how these novel reader proteins preferentially recognize the viral methylated transcripts over cellular methylated transcripts. We hypothesize that viral methylated RNAs contain additional sequence or structural elements which confer m6A reader protein recruitment and specificity. We will utilize a range of cutting edge techniques, such as RIP-seq and in-cell Shape mapping, to identify these sequence motifs or structural elements.
As part of the Whitehouse group you will become part of an active research group which span the interface between virology and RNA biology.

More information on the Whitehouse lab can be found at :

Funding Notes

White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology
4 year fully-funded programme of integrated research and skills training, starting Oct 2020:
• Research Council Stipend
• UK/EU Tuition Fees
• Conference and research funding

At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We welcome students with backgrounds in biological, chemical or physical sciences, or mathematical backgrounds with an interest in biological questions.

EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency to receive full studentship

Not all projects will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.

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Baquero-Pérez, B., Antanaviciute, A., Yonchev, I.D., Carr, I.M., Wilson, S.A. & Whitehouse, A. (2019). The Tudor SND1 protein is an m6A RNA reader essential for KSHV replication. eLife, 8:e47261.

Manners, O., Murphy, J., Coleman, A., Hughes, D.J. & Whitehouse, A. (2018). Contribution of the KSHV and EBV Lytic Cycles to Tumourigenesis. Current Opinions in Virology, 32, 60–70.

Manners, O., Baquero-Perez, B. & Whitehouse, A. (2019). Epitranscriptomics: widespread regulatory control in virus replication. BBA Gene Regulatory Mechanisms, BA - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms 1862, 370–381.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 60.90

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

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