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PhD Studentship: Identification and characterisation of protein depalmitoylases

Coventry University - Centre for Sport, Exercise and life Sciences (CSELS)

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Coventry
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/EU)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 1st April 2019
Closes: 31st May 2019

Research within the Centre for Sports, Exercise & Life Sciences (CSELS) reflects a broad range of sport, exercise and biological associated sciences to understand life from the level of molecules through to the whole body. The Centre has considerable expertise, ranging from microbiology, cell biology, genomic and molecular biology, biochemistry, nutrition and food science, safety pharmacology, physiology, physical activity and sport performance.

The fully funded project Identification and characterisation of protein depalmitoylases considers the role of S-acylation (palmitoylation) which is an essential post-translational modification (PTM) involving the reversible attachment of fatty acids, such as palmitic acid, onto the cysteine residues of proteins. This PTM regulates the trafficking, localisation, stability and activity of diverse proteins, and defects in this process are linked to major human disorders, including cancer, diabetesand several neurological disorders (Huntington’s Disease, Intellectual Disability and Schizophrenia).

S-acylation is regulated by the opposing actions of “zDHHC” S-acyltransferases and acyl protein thioesterases (APTs; also known as depalmitoylases) belonging to the metabolic serine hydrolase family. Despite the importance of this PTM, questions concerning the identification of the full complement of cellular APTs, how they selectively recognise their substrate proteins, and how APTs are regulated, remain. This interdisciplinary project will employ a range of established experimental approaches (including cell culture; biochemistry; and cell, molecular and chemical biological techniques) to identify and characterise at the molecular level APTs, with the ultimate aim of identifying new drug targets for various disorders. This work will answer fundamental questions on how APTs regulate S-acylation pathways to further our understanding of how this process is disrupted in human disease. This research fits within the research theme of Health and Mechanisms of Disease within CSELS.

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