University of Dundee

Wellcome 4-Year PhD Programme in Integrated Molecular, Cellular and Translational Biology

The Wellcome Trust Integrated molecular, cellular and translational biology programme combines scientific excellence with a commitment to improving the working environment and transition support for trainees. This PhD programme, provided by world-renowned scientists from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, will train the next generation of scientists at the forefront of international science. Students will join our supportive and positive research culture with the opportunity to select research projects centred around four themes:

  1. Cellular Regulation
  2. Protein Modification
  3. Infection and Immunity
  4. Drug Discovery and Translation

Around 50 different potential supervisors will participate in this programme

Dr Piers Hemsley

S-acylation is the post-translational addition of fatty acids to protein cysteine residues though a thioester bond. Importantly, and unlike other lipid modifications such as myristoyation, farnesylation and geranylgeranylation, S-acylation is reversible in a rapid and regulated manner. This enables S-acylation to act as a molecular switch for controlling protein function, activation state, trafficking, turnover, conformation and interaction with other proteins. A particular feature of S-acylation is its ability to increase association of proteins with membranes; every S-acyl group added provides a membrane anchoring strength equivalent to one transmembrane domain. This is very important for attaching otherwise soluble proteins to membrane. Interestingly, integral membrane proteins make up over 50% of the known S-acylated proteome indicating that membrane anchoring is not the primary role of S-acylation in many circumstances. S-acylated proteins are found in every membrane bound sub-cellular compartment studied to date including the nucleus.