2 PhD-positions available in the field of RNAi and Genome Biology                                                                                    

Our team studies the role of RNA interference in genome surveillance and genome biology using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. We demonstrated that DNA double-strand breaks provoke a local siRNA response if they occur in a transcribed region (Michalik et al., 2012). This suggests a connection between transcript surveillance and genome biology. While the siRNAs do not appear to affect the choice of DNA repair pathways (homologous recombination vs. end joining, Schmidts et al. 2016), the response is mechanistically related to the repression of transposons by endogenous siRNAs. It is intriguing that impaired splicing appears to stimulate this siRNA response (Merk et al. 2017). We now want to find out the mechanistic basis of this connection.

Two PhD positions are available starting December 2017 or later. We will combine our expertise in genome editing (Kunzelmann et al., 2016) with proteomic technology to determine damage-induced interactors of stalled spliceosomes. Furthermore, we will develop high-resolution approaches to study the inducible and localized convergent transcription that is required to produce double-stranded RNA, the precursor of siRNAs.

Interested candidates can contact Prof. Dr. Klaus Förstemann:

 The University of Munich is an equal opportunity employer. Handicapped candidates with equal qualifications will be given preference.

 References siRNAs and Genome Biology:

1) Merk K, Breinig M, Böttcher R, Krebs S, Blum H, Boutros M and Förstemann K. Splicing stimulates siRNA Formation at Drosophila DNA Double-Strand Breaks, PLoS Genetics 2017, 13(6): e1006861

2) Schmidts I, Böttcher R, Mirkovic-Hösle M, Förstemann K. Homology directed repair is unaffected in the absence of siRNAs in Drosophila melanogaster, Nucleic Acids Res. 2016, 44: 8261-71

3) Michalik KM, Böttcher R, Förstemann K. A small RNA response at DNA ends in Drosophila. Nucleic Acids Res. 2012, 40: 9596-9603

 References Genome Editing:

1) Kunzelmann S, Böttcher R, Schmidts I, Förstemann K. A Comprehensive Toolbox for Genome Editing in Cultured Drosophila melanogaster Cells. G3 (Bethesda) 2016, 6(6): 1777-85

2) Böttcher R, Hollmann M, Merk K, Nitschko V, Obermaier C, Philippou-Massier J, Wieland I, Gaul U, Förstemann K. Efficient chromosomal gene modification with CRISPR/cas9 and PCR-based homologous recombination donors in cultured Drosophila cells. Nucleic Acids Res. 2014, 42: e89