Ribosomes under attack – Single molecule analysis of bacterial translation under impaired rRNA stability & antimicrobial treatment

Christoph Engl (primary)
Simon Ameer-Beg (secondary)
School of Cancer & Pharmaceutical Sciences


Understanding how antimicrobials act on their target is key for developing new knowledge-based strategies to potentiate antimicrobial efficacy and critical for tackling antimicrobial resistance. Ribosomes are essential for protein synthesis and a major target for antimicrobials. Recently, a bacterial RNA repair system was found to maintain ribosome homeostasis by stabilising the RNA of the small ribosomal subunit and to increase tolerance to ribosome-targeting antimicrobials, representing a previously unrecognised physiological response. The student will now use a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry and single molecule biophysics techniques to mechanistically understand the impact of this system on ribosome function and antimicrobial tolerance.


(1) Blanchard et al. (2004) PNAS 101:12893-12898. (2) Munro et al. (2010) PNAS 107: 709-714. (3) Perez & Gonzales (2011) Curr Opin Chem Biol 15: 853-863; (4) Engl et al. (2016) Nucleic Acids Res 44: 9933-9941; (5) Wang et al. (2011) Ann NY Acad Sci 1241: E1-E16; (6) Wang et al. (2012) Nat Struct Mol Biol 19: 957-963. (7) Zhu et al. (2016) Nucleic Acids Res 44: e155; (8) Scott et al. (2010) Science 330: 1099-1102.

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biologyMolecules, cells and industrial biotechnologyPlants, microbes, food and sustainability
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBioinformaticsBiophysicsImage ProcessingMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular Biology