Investigating ribosome tissue specialisation in reproduction

FUNDING: 9 weeks (full time, 37 hrs per week, £11 per hour, £530 consumables)
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Dr. Karl Norris, Biological Sciences, Leeds

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Ribosomes catalyse protein synthesis and comprise 80 proteins and 4 – 5 segments of rRNA. Studies over the last decade have shown that ribosomes can have specialised function, crucial for organismal development. We recently characterised the protein composition of ribosomes from several tissues of Drosophila melanogaster and discovered significant heterogeneity in ribosome composition in the gonads. One source of heterogeneity was the protein IFRD1. We hypothesise that this could result in a population of specialised ribosomes playing a pivotal role in translational regulation. IFRD1 has previously been found associated with mammalian ribosomes and thus by understanding the role IFRD1 plays in translational regulation, we may gain novel insight into mechanisms of translational control that underpin male fertility. The student will investigate the importance of IFRD1 to male fertility using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. They will use the UAS-GAL4 system, IFRD1 testis-specific knockdown, and confirm their work via qPCR. The impact of IFRD1 loss on translational regulation and male fertility will be assessed through puromycin incorporation assays, immunostaining and fertility assays. Students will be expected to present their findings orally at a research day in York in September 2023.