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Research Technician - Protein-DNA Interactions

University of Oxford - Department of Plant Sciences

Location: Oxford
Salary: £26,341 to £31,406 p.a. Grade 5
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 25th November 2021
Closes: 21st December 2021
Job Ref: 154552

Location: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RB

Salary: Grade 5:  £26,341 - £31,406 per annum

The Department of Plant Sciences is seeking to recruit one Research Technician for 6 months. This post is financially supported by the John Fell Fund held by Dr Francesco Licausi. The work is to be conducted in his lab in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RB. The research topic is ‘The crystal structure of RAP2.12 DNA binding domain’.

Adaptation to hypoxia in higher plants is mediated by the group VII of Ethylene Response Factors (ERFs), which modulate the transcriptional response to hypoxia. Whereas the vast majority of ERF proteins recognise a DNA element defined as the GCC-box, group VIIs preferentially regulate genes whose promoter contains a more complex sequence, defined as the Hypoxia Responsive Promoter Element (HRPE). Preliminary observations suggest that novel domains, in addition to the traditional AP2 responsible for binding the GCC-box, are required in vivo for DNA recognition by RAP2.12, the main ERF-VII transcription factor of Arabidopsis thaliana. However, conclusive evidence for this can only come from the structural characterisation of the nucleoprotein complex. Therefore, we seek for a research technician to help with RAP2.12 protein expression, purification testing and crystallization of the RAP2.12 fragment that is sufficient for HRPE binding. Completion of this project will lead to publication of the results in a peer reviewed research journal. Moreover, we envisage many possibilities for future exploitation of the results obtained in this project: modulation of ERF activity over specific targets in crops; studying the development of ERF-VII and the anaerobic response throughout the evolution of land plants; and analysis of how amino acid substitutions affect nucleotide recognition in other ERF proteins.

Duties: The research technician will carry out experiments and analyse data. They will also be involved in presenting and discussing their results within the group. Presentation and critical discussion of results and related literature will also be fostered during group meetings. The research technician is also expected to contribute to lab and group management.

The postholders should have a master degree or equivalent (or be very close to obtaining one) in a relevant area. A publication record, including manuscripts deposited in preprint servers, although welcome, is not required. Successful candidates are expected to demonstrate intellectual curiosity and rigour, ability to work independently and manage multiple tasks as well as previous experience with protein expression and purification.

The closing date for applications is 12.00 noon on 21 December 2021.

Informal enquiries should be directed to at francesco.licausi@plants.ox.ac.uk.

Excellent benefits include 38 days’ leave. A full-time position, 36.5 hours per week.

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