Ferritins as nano-cage bioreactors for synthetic biology applications (LEBRUN_U18DTP2)
- Research Area Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
- Partner The University of East Anglia (UEA)
Professor Nick Le Brun -
- Application Deadline 27/11/2017
The cellular iron storage protein ferritin is composed of 24 subunits, arranged in a highly symmetric fashion to form an approximately spherical protein shell surrounding a hollow centre in which large amounts of iron can be stored as a ferric-oxy-hydroxide mineral. The ferritin protein shell can potentially accommodate a range of other molecules, and the aim of this studentship is to use synthetic biology approaches to develop bacterial and plant ferritins as microaerobic nano-cage bioreactors, through the encapsulation of proteins and peptides for biotechnological applications. Methodologies for peptide and protein encapsulation will be developed, with eventual targets including technologically relevant enzymes such as FeFe hydrogenase, which catalyses the reduction of protons to hydrogen gas. This reaction/enzyme is of great current interest because of its potential for large scale generation of clean energy. This multi-disciplinary project will be based in the Le Brun lab at UEA and the Balk lab at John Innes Centre and will involve protein biochemistry, spectroscopy and kinetics, offering excellent training potential for the appointed student.