Controlling bacterial greenhouse gas emissions by targeting G-quadruplex DNA/RNA structures


As well as carbon dioxide (CO2), other important climate-active gases are known to drive global warming.

Importantly, nitrous oxide (N2O), is the third most abundant greenhouse gas with 300-times greater global warming power than CO2 and it also contributes to the destruction of the ozone layer.

Production of N2O is a by-product of modern farming, where after applying fertilizers, soil-based bacteria consume nitrate and generate N2O. By understanding how bacteria do this and developing tools to control it, we could potentially reduce future biological N2O emissions, allowing recovery of the ozone layer and help reduce global climate change.

This project will develop understanding of how DNA and RNA structures control nitrogen assimilation and N2O production in bacteria and how we can use small-molecules to control these pathways in cells.

The project will provide training in a wide-range of biophysical, molecular biology and microbiological techniques, from characterizing different types of DNA/RNA structures, gene expression studies to ligand-binding assays.

Led by Dr Andrew Gates, this project will be based in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the student will work collaboratively with Dr Zoƫ Waller (UEA/UCL) and Dr Yiliang Ding at the John Innes Centre.

The student will have, or expect to obtain a first class, 2(i) or equivalent honours degree in Microbiology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pharmacy or a related area.
Informal enquiries are welcomed; for further information please contact Dr Andrew Gates (


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