University of Dundee

MRC DTP 4 Year PhD Programme: mRNA cap regulation in T cell function

We are interesting in how cells respond to extra cellular signals by co-ordinating the expression of hundreds or thousands of genes.  In particular we are interested in gene expression changes when a T cell encounters an antigen, and when an embryonic stem cell receives a developmental signal.  Our focus is on the role of the mRNA cap, which recruits the factors that mediate RNA processing and translation.  The enzymes which form the cap also influence transcription.

The project will involve investigating the impact of the mRNA capping enzymes on transcription, RNA processing and translation in embryonic stem cells and T cells. The student will use the latest next generation sequencing technologies to map gene expression profiles and used advanced computational methodologies to analyse the data.

Victoria Cowling is a group leader in the Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression.  Her group investigates how regulation of the mRNA cap influences cell function and fate.   Gabriele Schweikert is a group leader in the Division of Computational Biology. Her group pioneers machine learning methodologies in gene expression analyses.

Grasso L, Suska O, Davidson L, Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis T, Williamson R, Wasmus L, Wiedlich S, Peggie M, Stavridis MP and Cowling VH  (2016)  mRNA cap methylation in pluripotency and differentiation  Cell Rep. 2016 Aug 2;16(5):1352-65. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.06.089. Epub 2016 Jul 21 PMID 27452456

Varshney D, Lombardi O, Schweikert G, Dunn S, Suska O and Cowling VH (2018) mRNA cap methyltransferase (RNMT-RAM) is required for RNA pol II-dependent transcription Cell Rep. 2018 May 1;23(5):1530-1542. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.04.004 PMID: 29719263

Aregger M, Kaskar A, Fernandez-Sanchez ME, Simone Weidlich S and Cowling VH  (2016) CDK1-cyclinB activates RNMT co-ordinating mRNA cap methylation with G1 phase transcription Molecular Cell 2016 Mar 3;61(5):734-46. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.02.008 PMID: 26942677