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Understanding how metabolic rhythms are generated in single cells

School of Biological Sciences

Prof P Swain Wednesday, January 06, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A remarkable property of cells is their ability to generate rhythms. Through jetlag, most of us are familiar with the circadian rhythms produced by neurons. But even the unicellular organism baker’s yeast undergoes regular metabolic cycles that makes the activity of metabolic processes and even gene expression periodic. The source of these rhythms is not understood, but it is thought to be connected to the interplay between mitochondria and the rest of the cell, particularly though redox reactions. Hinting at an ancient origin, the same redox reactions may drive circadian rhythms.

In this project, you will use time-lapse microscopy and microfluidics to determine how cellular rhythms are generated. By studying metabolic cycling in single cells of baker’s yeast, you will discover insights into a fundamental cellular process. Combining single-cell fluorescence reporters with deletion mutants, you will work out which enzymes are crucial in generating the rhythms and, through analysing the single-cell time series, which properties of the rhythms they affect. Your results may substantially change how we understand cellular physiology.

The School of Biological Sciences is committed to Equality & Diversity:

Funding Notes

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Crane MM, Clark IB, Bakker E, Smith S, Swain PS. A microfluidic system for studying ageing and dynamic single-cell responses in budding yeast. PLoS One. 2014; 9:e100042.

Papagiannakis A, Niebel B, Wit EC, Heinemann M. Autonomous metabolic oscillations robustly gate the early and late cell cycle. Molecular Cell. 2017; 65:285-95.

Edgar RS, et al. Peroxiredoxins are conserved markers of circadian rhythms. Nature. 2012; 485:459-64.
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