Allosteric modulation of P2X ion channels (FOUNTAIN_U18ICASE2)

University of East Anglia
October 09 2017
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

P2X receptors are ligand-gated ion channels activated by extracellular adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP). In mammals, fast biological effects of ATP are mediated by P2X receptors during neurotransmission, response to painful stimuli and regulation of blood pressure. The human genome encodes 7 P2X receptors (P2X1-7). P2X receptors are trimeric, formed by the assembly of 3 pore-forming subunits that form a cation-selective pore gated by extracellular ATP. The ATP binding site (orthosteric site) lies between subunits and is highly structurally conserved. Drug-like compounds that bind to the orthosteric site are therefore unlikely to offer receptor subtype specificity. Conversely, allosteric sites are under low evolutionary pressure and are likely to display structural diversity between receptor subtypes. Despite some progress, the predictive identification of allosteric sites remains challenging.

A collaboration with Merck will allow for investigation of known small molecule allosteric modulators of P2X eceptors for empirical identification of allosteric sites within P2X receptors. The project will employ patch-clamp electrophysiology, molecular modelling, calcium imaging, mutagenesis and high-throughput screening to elucidate the molecular basis for allosteric modulation of P2X receptor subunits.

Research will be undertaken within the state-of-the-art Biomedical Research Centre on the Norwich Research Park in addition to 9-12 months at the new Merck Research Laboratories in San Francisco, USA. You will join an international recognised research based at UEA. The laboratory is very well funded by the British Heart Foundation, RCUK and industrial partners. We are a highly dynamic group and presentation at domestic and international conferences is encouraged.

This Industrial CASE project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.

The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding notes

Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553pa - 2017/8), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements. Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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