Postdoc Position in Assembly, DNA loading and processing of virophages


Virophages are small DNA viruses that co-infect unicellular organisms that contain giant viruses. They recruit the cytosolic reproduction and assembly machinery of the giant virus whose own propagation is then stalled. Up to now 3 different virophages, namely Sputnik, Mavirus and Zamilon were isolated (1-3). They contain about 20 coding regions in a DNA genome of approx. 20 kb. The most conserved components are the two capsid proteins, a protease that assists maturation and a FtsK-HerA type ATPase that supposedly is responsible for ATP dependent DNA transport into the assembled capsid.

The successful candidate will characterize and compare key features of Mavirus and Sputnik/Zamilon capsid assembly and processing (6) and active transport of DNA. Common themes as well as unique features correlated to adaption of the different virophages to their different hosts/environment should be elucidated. The assembly/disassembly pathways will be characterized with spectroscopic, kinetic and structural methods (5,6) with the aim to understand better the hierarchy and pathway of supramolecular organisation of capsid structure and what determines the exact size of the assembled particles in the absence of a molecular ruler. Key to address these questions is also development and application of mostly fluorescence based markers for FRET (4) and ideally also Fluorescence Microscopy based assays. Rationally modified and loaded Capsids should also be used for in vivo probing and as nano-containers.


Profile of candidate’s qualification: A strong interest in quantitative and analytical techniques and molecular mechanisms, solid training in molecular biology and biochemistry, knowledge in biophysics and physical chemistry.

Methods that will be used: Molecular Biology, Protein Biochemistry+Biophysics, Spectroscopy, transient kinetics, Electron Microscopy, Fluorescence microscopy

Keywords: Capsid, folding &assembly, DNA transport ATPase, structure, fluorescence


Deadline & Application: 31.10.2018 via email to Jochen.Reinstein [ aT ]