Role of the RNA Pol II subunits in transcription regulation

University of Birmingham

The RNA Pol II complex is the RNA polymerase that transcribes the genes that codify for the proteins in our body. This complex allows expressing only the functional relevant parts of the genome for each specific cell type, generating all the cells in the organism from virtually the same DNA template. Generally, the RNA Pol II has been characterised as a whole complex of 12 proteins, whose activity is tightly controlled through interactions with transcription-associated factors. Although very much research has characterised the roles of these factors, very little, if anything, is known about how the multiple subunits of the RNA Pol II are important for the regulation of transcription itself.

We have now uncovered from analysis of cancer genomic databases that single subunits can be deregulated, and this correlates with more aggressive tumours with poor cancer patients’ survival in many different cancer types. We hypothesised that these single subunit deregulations could affect the interaction of transcription-associated factors with transcriptionally engaged RNA Pol II. Indeed, so far we have found that deregulations of some subunits impact on the interaction between transcription factors and the RNA Pol II complex, with each of them altering specific transcription stages.

The student will determine the overall impact of the deregulation of single subunits, using a combination of molecular and cellular biology approaches, including immunofluorescence, protein biochemistry and genome-wide techniques.

Funding notes:

Applicants are invited from self-funded or scholarship-funded graduates ONLY

Applicants will be self-funded or will have typically applied for, or secured funding for their studies from their government, employer or associated charitable organisations.

Overseas graduates require IELTs of 6.5 overall

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