PhD Project "Structure and dynamics of membrane-bound organelles during mitosis" (Schlaitz_0122) - Heidelberg University

Date: 01/11/2022
Application Deadline: 31/10/2022

The advertised project will build on our recent findings and aims to elucidate mechanisms of cell-cycle regulation and of microtubule-association of REEP3 and REEP4

Mitosis is fundamental for all life. Decades of research have yielded plenty of insight into how chromosomes, microtubules and centrosomes are remodeled to ensure the faithful inheritance of genetic material. But in addition to the correct genetic information, forming daughter cells also need a full complement of membrane-bound organelles for their viability. Furthermore, it has recently emerged that spindle assembly and chromosome segregation depend on organelles and organelle-associated proteins. Thus, membrane-bound organelles need to be re-structured and re-positioned in highly specific ways to ensure successful cell division. However, the mechanisms of mitotic organelle remodeling have largely remained elusive. We have recently characterized the membrane shaping and microtubule-binding proteins REEP3 and REEP4 as major organizers of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) during mitosis. REEP3 and REEP4 redundantly position ER and create high ER membrane curvature in mitosis. REEP4 additionally promotes the assembly of new nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) in the forming nuclear envelope in late mitosis, possibly by linking high-curvature ER to an NPC precursor on chromatin. 
REEP3 and REEP4 thereby ensure that a proper nuclear envelope is formed and promote correct chromosome segregation and cytokinesis, confirming the notion that correct organelle architecture is essential for cell division. 
Thesis project: Our group has recently moved to the Biochemistry Center of Heidelberg University (BZH). The advertised project will build on our recent findings and aims to elucidate mechanisms of cell-cycle regulation and of microtubule-association of REEP3 and REEP4. To this end, we will investigate cell-cycle dependent differences in post-translational modifications and the interactomes of REEP3 and REEP4. 
This research at the interface of cell cycle and organelle biology is aimed at uncovering unappreciated mitotic pathways to enable a more comprehensive understanding of cell division.

Personal qualifications:

 We are looking for PhD and Master's students who are keen to investigate fundamental cell biological questions related to the morphogenesis and organization of membrane-bound organelles. Candidates should have a background in molecular cell biology, biochemistry or related fields, be passionate about experimental research, enjoy working in an international team and be comfortable communicating in English.

Please submit your application exclusively through the HBIGS application system: http://www.hbigs.uni-heidelberg.de/main_application.html

Please read more under "Open PhD Positions".

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