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Molecular characterization of the HCV core protein mobility to/from lipid droplets and its role in their formation


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a leading cause of liver disease and will continue to be a major public health problem for the foreseeable future. Following maturation by cellular proteases, the HCV capsid protein, termed core, is redirected from the ER to lipid droplets (LDs), which are cytoplasmic storage organelles. Association of core with LDs may be important for virus life cycle and contribute to disease since accumulation of LDs is the histological indicator for steatosis. Expression of core in tissue culture cells induces accumulation of LDs and thus it may directly participate in their formation. However, the mechanism for this process is still not known. This post-doctoral position proposes to study the trafficking of core to LDs and the mechanisms of LD s formation induced by core in order to determine the relationships between HCV core protein, LDs and steatosis.

Aims of the project will be:
1) Detailed functional analysis of the domain within core involves in LD interaction
2) Trafficking of core from the ER to LDs (and vice versa), which may be important for virus assembly and steatosis appearance
3) Study of the mechanism of LD formation. From my PhD, I gained biochemical and biophysical skills.
To acquire a broader view on protein biology from both structural and cell biology perspectives, I wish to apply for a Marie Curie Fellowship to work in the MRC Virology Unit, UK, where I will receive extensive training in cell biology, live cell studies, confocal and electron microscopy. I will gain a combination o f approaches from biophysical and cell biology disciplines, which will give me an impressive profile for my future career prospects as an independent scientist.

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20 Park Crescent
United Kingdom

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