Regulation of cellular metabolism and intercellular communication by sodium signaling

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Biology

Abstract

Our cells constantly sense and transport ions present in their environment. From
embryonic development to epilepsy to heart disease to cancer, our cells' ability
to respond to changes in the ionic microenvironment is essential for healthy
ageing. We recently discovered a new link between sodium transporters and
amino acid metabolism. This could be a mechanism of integrating ionic signals
into cell-cell communication. In this project, you will build on these findings and
explore how sodium transport affects cell metabolism and communication
between cells, with a specific focus on tumour/immune cell interaction.
We will use a range of sophisticated microscopy approaches, e.g. confocal
microscopy and ptychography, to explore the functional activity of ion pumps and
their effect on amino acid metabolism and immune signalling. We will modulate
pump expression using pharmacological and genetic (RNAi, CRISPR)
techniques. Importantly, we will measure pump activity using a combination of
whole cell patch clamp recording and ion-sensitive dyes. We will also study the
effects of ion pump activity on downstream signalling and cellular behaviour
using molecular cell biology approaches. The project will therefore expose the
student to a range of cutting-edge cell biology techniques in labs that are leading
in this field. As ion transport plays a key role in normal cellular physiology and in
a number of diseases, this project is expected to provide novel mechanistic
insights into an important, and relatively understudied signalling mechanism.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011151/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
2279785 Studentship BB/M011151/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Alina Lavinia Capatina