Recent work suggests that all eukaryotes, irrespective of their lifestyle, anaerobic or parasitic, contain an organelle derived from the mitochondrion a mitochondrial homologue, posing the question is there a common conserved function shared by all mitochondrial homologues that makes them vital for the eukaryotic cell?
I will use an innovative comparative bioinformatics approach to identify the cohort of mitochondrial proteins conserved among genomes of diverse parasitic and anaerobic eukaryotes with mitochondrial homologues of different sorts (including hydrogenosomes and mitosomes), and contrast these with the well-characterized proteomes of classic aerobic mitochondria from model organisms.
I will also investigate how these proteins might potentially interact and thus infer a mitochondrial functional interactome. These analyses will identify the best candidates for a common essential function (if one indeed exists) for the mitochondrial organelle under diverse living conditions, but will also illustrate the variability of this apparently vital eukaryotic organelle.
I will do this work at Newcastle University in the laboratory of Prof. Martin Embley, an expert on mitochondrial homologues of parasitic protozoa. My skills in bioinformatics complement those of Prof. Embley and his collaborators ensuring an excellent synergy and training environment and, through collaboration with researchers in Prof Embleys lab, a unique opportunity to use computational biology to direct focused cell biology.
My project is innovative and original and addresses major EU concerns: investigating the functions of organelles of important human parasites addresses a specific goal of EU priority Advanced Genomics and its applications for Health (OJL294, 29.10.02). My project will also provide baseline data for inferring potential minimal functions and structure of mitochondria generally; a Life Sciences Priority (LSH-2003-1.2.2-3).
Call for proposal
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