During growth in many cell types, translation is the most energy consuming process exceeding 50% of the total cellular energy budget. In our model organism, Escherichia coli, we have found a very direct regulatory mechanism responsible for reducing the translational capacity of the cell during stress. The reduction occurs by degradation of important components of the translational machinery. The overall goal of the project is to identify the mechanisms behind target degradation and understand how that can influence the fitness of bacteria in various situations. The most promising player in the degradation process is a hitherto undescribed class of small regulatory RNAs.
Our group can offer projects in several branches of the main project. We want to understand the biochemistry underlying the degradation reaction by in vitro assays and we also take a genetics approach by constructing and employing mutant strains to analyze the effects of specific cellular components on the growth physiology of cells. A typical project includes one or more of the following technics: 1) Cloning and expression of genes. 2) Strain construction and selection of mutants. 3) Analysis of RNA expression by Northern blots, 4) Analysis of proteins by 2D- gels or enzymatic assays.
Because the projects all include topics important for our research they require close supervision. I can therefore only accommodate a few students at a time.