Research objectives and content
The aim of this project is to understand at the molecular level, how a redox, fixed nitrogen and energy-sensing protein (NIFL) responds to intracellular signals and communicates this information to a transcriptional activator (NIFA), to modulate gene expression. The role of a conserved motif in NIFL, present in a large family of proteins from Bacteria, Archaea and Eucarya which sense oxygen, redox status or light will be identified and the role of nucleotides in the activation of NIFL will be determined. A genetic approach utilising site-directed mutagenesis and positive selection for mutant phenotypes will be employed to identify regions of NIFL and NIFA required for communication. This will be complemented by a biochemical approach in which evidence for protein: protein interactions will be sought. I will also investigate the mechanism whereby NIFL inhibits transcriptional activation by NIFA.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
This project will considerably extend my existing experience which is based largely in the area of molecular genetics. I wish to develop and pursue the more biochemical and molecular biological approaches which are offered by this project in order to gain an understanding of protein structure and function as well as the molecular mechanisms involved in regulation. This training will enable me to develop the essential skills and expertise necessary to initiate my own independent research in the future.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
Several biotechnology companies have expressed interest in the Framwork IV Biotechnology network: TASTES (Transcription Activation and Sensory Transduction: Elucidation of Structures) which is coordinated by the host institute.