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The role of meiotic telomeres in successful gametogenesis

Our telomeres shorten with age. Epidemiological studies suggested that telomere length has an inverted correlation with fertility.

In fact, telomere shortening or dysfunction causes meiotic defects, but the meiotic roles of telomeres remain elusive. In the early meiotic prophase, telomeres attach to the nuclear membrane and migrate toward a limited area of the nuclear envelope, often near the centrosome or spindle pole body (SPB), to form a so-called ‘chromosomal bouquet’ or ‘telomere bouquet’.

This well-conserved bouquet configuration is crucial for progression of meiosis in many eukaryotes. My original studies revealed crucial roles of the telomere bouquet in controlling the SPB and timely exit from the meiotic recombination stage in fission yeast. In this proposal, we will look into the mechanisms of telomere interaction and dissociation from the well-conserved SUN domain protein, Sad1, in fission yeast.

We have identified the key residue within Sad1 for bouquet formation and successfully generated the corresponding sad1 mutant strain. Using this strain and available tools, the candidate will explore the role of Sad1-telomere interaction.

We will address how the telomere-binding region of Sad1 contributes to meiosis. We are looking for candidates who have master-level qualifications with research experience in the field of molecular biology, cell biology or biochemistry. The successful candidate will also have basic knowledge in molecular biology, genetic and fluorescence microscope, and will demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills.

Related publications

  1. Vera Moiseeva, Hanna Amelina, Christine A. Armstrong, Siân R. Pearson and Kazunori Tomita. “The telomere bouquet facilitates meiotic prophase progression and exit in fission yeast”. Cell Discovery, 2017 Nov 7; 3: 17041. doi:10.1038/celldisc.2017.41
  2. Hanna Amelina, Shaan Subramaniam, Vera Moiseeva, Christine A. Armstrong, Siân R. Pearson and Kazunori Tomita. “Telomere protein Rap1 is a charge resistant scaffolding protein in chromosomal bouquet formation”. BMC Biology, 2015 Jun 10; 13 (1): 37. doi: 10.1186/s12915-015-0149-x
  3. Kazunori Tomita, and Julia Promisel Cooper. “The Telomere Bouquet Controls the Meiotic Spindle”. Cell, 2007 Jul 13; 130 (1): 113-26. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.05.024

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)

Kazunori Tomita - Research theme: - Telomere biology and chromosome maintenance Career: - 2019-           Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences, Department of Life Sciences 2018-           Honorary Senior Research Associate, UCL Cancer Institute, University College London, UK 2010-2018   Principal Research Fellow, UCL Cancer Institute, University College London, UK 2010-2016   Cancer Research UK Career Development Fellow 2010            Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Hematology, Imperial College London, UK 2004-2009   Postdoctoral research fellow, Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute, UK 2001-2004   Ph. D. in Environmental Sciences, Shizuoka University, Japan