Supervisor Project : Development and application of novel tools to detect protein interactions in vivo


Partner Lab

IC bioGUNE (Center for Cooperative Research in Biosciences), a non-profit
biomedical research organization, was inaugurated at the Technology Park of Bizkaia in
2005. CIC bioGUNE plays a strong role in advancing biomedical research and
technological innovation in the Basque Country. CIC bioGUNE provides state-of-the-art
research infrastructure in genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and structural biology
facilities, among others. It employs 22 research group leaders, more than 85 postdocs,
technicians and engineers, and provides training opportunities to over twenty PhD
students each year. International recruitment, includes fellows from Ikerbasque,
Bizkaia:talent, and Ramón y Cajal programs. CIC bioGUNE receives competitive
research grants (European Union, NIH, and the Spanish Plan Nacional I+D+I, FIS,
CIBER and CONSOLIDER programs, BBVA Foundation and Genome Spain).



Rosa Barrio started her work on ubiquitin-like genes during her PhD at the Center of Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa (Madrid, Spain), where she characterized the ubiquitin genes in Drosophila. She continued with her studies at Harvard University-USA, IMBB-Greece, EMBL-Germany, CBMSO-Spain. She is currently Principal Investigator at the Functional Genomics Unit of CIC bioGUNE. Rosa Barrio coordinated two European projects, one of them dedicated to the training of early stage researchers (ITN program, UPStream); the other grant being a large consortium of European groups interested in the field of the ubiquitin-likes (COST, PROTEOSTASIS).

Summary of the Project

As the gatekeepers of protein homeostasis, Ub and SUMO are implicated in almost every cellular pathway described, and it is no surprise that the complexity of their regulation seems to be increasing weekly in the literature. The fact that Ub can make chain-linkages through every one of its lysines raises questions about the lysines of all other UbL proteins. Mixed-chains are seemingly less abundant, but this may be due to lack of good tools to capture and analyse them. We hypothesize that Ub-SUMO mixed chains have important homeostatic and stress-responsive roles, and that novel regulators oversee their formation and destruction. We will design split-BirA for recognising Ub-SUMO mixed chains and to identify the proteins modified by these mixed chains by MS. The application of split-BirA to this problem will hopefully confirm this hypothesis, and also be applicable to other protein complexes in the future.