Research objectives and content
The objective of the project is to devise new optical spectroscopic methods for characterising the molecular mechanism of the interaction of calmodulin with its target sequences and for studying the conformation of calmodulin when bound to different target enzymes. Calmodulin activates many enzymes in a calcium dependent process, and is the link: between changes in intracellular calcium concentration and the activation of specific enzymic processes. The project aims to study and extend existing biophysical methods (which have used complexes of calmodulin with peptides of defined sequence) to study calmodulin-enzyme interactions. This will involve the thermodynamic characterisation of calmodulin-peptide complex formation, design and expression of calmodulin mutants, studies of their conformation and stability, preparation of suitable fluorescent and phosphorescent calmodulin derivatives, and studies of the complexes with peptides and enzymes involving potentially different modes of calmodulin binding.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The project will allow the candidate to carry out a PhD programme and to widen the competence acquired with the Italian degree. In particular, the candidate will extend her knowledge of problems like protein structure and stability, and the relationship between protein functions and conformations. She will also gain wider laboratory experience in biophysical and spectroscopic methods, and she will learn useful biochemical and molecular biology techniques important for further research in biophysical studies on proteins.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)