At the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS / IOCB Prague, we are looking for talented, independent, and highly motivated PhD students with an MSc. degree or equivalent in life sciences or related fields. We are offering more than 20 new exciting projects in organic and medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, analytical, and physical chemistry.

  • Online registration deadline: 20 February 2023
  • Interview Day: 23 March 2023

Learn more and apply at https://www.uochb.cz/en/call-for-phd-applications

Ribozymes and deoxyribozymes are nucleic acids that catalyze reactions. They are typically isolated from large (1015-member) random sequence libraries in a process that requires multiple rounds of selection. We recently showed that, in at least some cases, catalytic nucleic acid motifs can be identified using a significantly easier procedure: deoxyribozymes that cleave RNA were isolated from a small (107-member) structured library in a single round of selection followed by high-throughput sequencing (Streckerová et al., 2021). We also found that RNA-cleaving deoxyribozymes are thousands of times more abundant in the presence of lead than in the presence of magnesium, highlighting the extent to which cofactors can influence the outcome of artificial evolution experiments. Here we will explore the relationship between cofactors and deoxyribozyme abundance in a more systematic way by performing a series of single-step selections for RNA-cleaving ribozymes and deoxyribozymes in the presence of a range of metal ion cofactors. These selections will allow us to compare the relative abilities of DNA and RNA to promote RNA cleavage. They will also provide insights into the most favorable cofactors for this reaction.

University: Faculty of Food and Biochemical Technology, UCT Prague / Faculty of Science, Charles University
Field of study: Molecular biology, Biochemistry
Tutor: Edward Curtis, Ph.D.
Group: Edward Curtis Group – Functional Potential of Nucleic Acids