MSc project in Viral Host Iinteractions hos Københavns Universitet

Importance: The genomes of phages (viruses of bacteria) are highly diverse, but largely understudied. They represent a black box of genes of unknown functions, which could potentially have significant biotechnological value and elucidate important virus-host interactions1.

Background: The genomes of a designated group of marine and non-marine phages (Podoviridae) with both temperate and lytic lifestyles infecting a range of bacteria all encode a peculiar operon of potential peptidoglycan modification genes located in between genes involved in transcription, DNA metabolism, and replication. The gene products of this operon are hypothesised to play an important role during infection and host take-over by either modifying the host cell surface to prevent superinfection or by modifying or reversing modification of host enzymes or other cell components2, 3.

The aim of this project is to examine the potential roles and biological consequences of these phage gene products, successful results may lead to a scientific publication.

Techniques: DNA work, epigenetics, 3rd generation sequencing, whole genome amplification, transposon- based random knock-out mutagenesis in vitro, cloning techniques (CRISPR-Cas9 and Gibson assembly), electroporation, PCR, phage characterisation and biological consequence assays.

You are more than welcome to contact Lars Hestbjerg Hansen at lhha@plen.ku.dk or Nikoline Olsen at sno@plen.ku.dk.

Relevant literature:
1. Salmond, G. P. C. & P. C. Fineran. A century of the phage: past, present and future. Nature Reviews Microbiology. 2015, vol. 13, pp.: 777-786. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro3564.
2. Duhaime MB, Solonenko N, Roux S, Verberkmoes NC, Wichels A, Sullivan MB. Comparative Omics and Trait Analyses of Marine Pseudoalteromonas Phages Advance the Phage OTU Concept. Front Microbiol. 2017;8:1241. Published 2017 Jul 6. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.01241

3. Hardies SC, Hwang YJ, Hwang CY, Jang GI, Cho BC. Morphology, physiological characteristics, and complete sequence of marine bacteriophage φRIO-1 infecting Pseudoalteromonas marina. J Virol. 2013;87(16):9189-9198. doi:10.1128/JVI.01521-13.

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