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Structural Studies of RNA binding proteins that modulate microRNA biogenesis

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Cook
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Nuclear factors 90 and 45 (NF90/NF45) form a complex that recognises dsRNA and is thought to remodel RNA structures. Loss of either protein of these proteins in vertebrates leads to non-viable offspring, suggesting that these proteins are required for an essential step in development. Transcriptome-wide CLIP studies indicate that NF90 recognises some pre-miRNAs, suggesting that the complex may be required for maturation of specific miRNAs.

Previous studies in our laboratory, using X-ray crystallography, have given a detailed insight into how NF90 recognises NF45 and dsRNA. To better understand the architectural changes that occur on RNA binding and how NF90/NF45 interacts with pre-miRNA sequences, the student will characterise these complexes using an integrated structural biology approach. Existing models from crystallographic studies will be combined with cross-linking/mass spectrometry and small angle scattering methods to develop pseudo-atomic models of different NF90/NF45/RNA complexes. These models will help us to develop a mechanistic understanding of miRNA regulation in mammals.

Funding Notes

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If you would like us to consider you for one of our scholarships you must apply by 12 noon on 13 December 2018 at the latest.


Nussbacher JK and Yeo GW (2018) Mol. Cell 69:1005
Wolkowicz UM and Cook AG (2012) NAR 40:9356
Jayachandran U, Grey H and Cook AG (2016) NAR 44:1924

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 109.70

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

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