Investigating the role of the viral protein 2A in protein synthesis

FUNDING: 10 weeks (full time, 37 hrs per week, £12 per hour, £850 consumables, £500 student accommodation bursary)
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Miguel Aracena Velazquez, Biology, York

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As part of infection, viruses deploy diverse strategies to undermine the translation of host mRNAs whilst simultaneously promoting the translation of their own genome. As such picornaviruses use viral proteases to cleave the host cap binding complex, eIF4F, however for encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) we lack a clear understanding of how this ‘host shutoff’ occurs. Interestingly, an EMCV protein, 2A, has been shown to bind to 40S ribosomal subunits in infection and in vitro. Furthermore, 2A binds to the ribosome on a conserved region of 16S rRNA via an arginine loop. We are looking for a highly motivated student to first express and purify 2A and 2A arginine loop mutants and then combine these with other components to assess the effect of 2A translation initiation. Training and close experimental supervision will be provided to allow you to develop skills in RNA transcription, primer design and molecular cloning, E. coli protein expression and purification by liquid chromatography, translation initiation assays, and data analysis. Students will be expected to present their findings orally at a research day in York in September 2024.