Fully Funded Studentship What drives filamentous growth and cell division in the antibiotic-producer bacterium Streptomyces?

Research Keywords:
Biochemistry, Cell Biology/Development, Genetics, Microbiology

28 February 2013. Applications are processed as soon as they are received, so early application is encouraged

Supervisory Team:
Primary: Dr Gabriella Kelemen

The Project:
Cell shape is critical for cellular function and the mechanism for establishing different cell shapes is one of the fundamental questions addressed in developmental biology. A specific way to generate elongated shapes is polarised growth, during which cell expansion takes place at a single location marked by specific “landmark” features. Examples of polarised growth can be found in both kingdoms of eukaryotes and prokaryotes, including the development of neuronal dendrites in animals, the root hairs of plants or filamentous growth amongst fungi or bacteria.

Our study focuses on the filamentous bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor, an important bacterial model organism not only for studying polarised growth and complex bacterial development but also for the production of numerous bioactive compounds such as antibiotics of extraordinary structural diversity (Flardh & Buttner, 2009). We have recently identified a key polarity determinant, a long coiled-coil protein Scy (Walshaw et al., 2010) and we established, for the first time, that a polar multi-protein assembly, the Tip Organising Centre, is essential for hyphal growth in Streptomyces (Holmes et al., accepted for publication) . We confirmed two main components of theTIPOC: Scy, the molecular assembler and the essential polarity marker DivIVA. We have also shown that a well functioning TIPOC is not only essential for polarised growth but also for the concerted event of cell division during sporulation, suggesting a link between factors controlling cell shape and cell division.

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The aim of this study is to characterise the components and the assembly of the multi-protein complex at the hyphal tips of Streptomyces and to investigate the link between polarised growth and cell division both in time and space. We will use biochemical and molecular biology technology together with methods in bacterial genetics and cell biology. The project will benefit greatly from the ‘state of the art’ microscopy facilities at the Norwich Research Park.

Funding will cover home/EU fees only. Overseas students will be required to pay the difference between home/EU and overseas fees. 

Entry Requirements:
A first or upper second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in Biological Sciences, Biochemistry or Chemistry.

Making Your Application: Please apply via the University’s online application system via the Apply button below. To discuss the application process or particular projects, please contact the: Admissions Office, email: pgr.enquiries.admiss@uea.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1603 591709.

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