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The biological role of putative toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria of the genus Pseudomonas
Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems usually consist of a gene that encodes for a toxic protein. The toxicity of the protein is usually countered by an antitoxin either by directly binding to the toxin or by preventing the translation or transcription of the toxic protein. Chromosomally encoded TA systems are common in bacteria and are usually involved in stress response mechanisms. Recent bioinformatic analyses suggest that two sequence repeat classes found in almost all Pseudomonas species might encode for novel TA systems.
For the proposed project the successful candidate will investigate the function of these two sequence repeat classes. The candidate will work in the laboratory to construct putative TA deletion and overexpression mutants in the P. fluorescens SBW25 genome. Next, biological assays will be performed to determine whether the manipulated sequences perform the anticipated TA function. The phenotypes of mutants from different regions of the genome will be compared to shed light on why there are so many different conserved repetitive sequences in the P. fluorescens SBW25 genome.
The successful candidate should have a keen interest in evolutionary biology and some experience in working in a microbiology lab. Experience with microbial genetic engineering techniques would be ideal but is not required.