Tag Archives: secondary metabolite

Job: Assistant Professor, Biochemical Interactome – NC State University

The Center for Integrated Fungal Research invites applications for a 9-month tenure-track position at the Assistant Professor level in the Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University. This faculty position is located on the main campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, and has a 80% research and 20% academic appointment. The selected individual will have a background in biology, or related field, with expertise in biochemistry, chemometrics, metabolic engineering, or phytochemistry. This individual is expected to develop an innovative research program to characterize and profile important groups of secreted biological metabolites to better understand the physical biochemical interactome, including their roles in human health, crop productivity and the environment. These exo- metabolomes are secreted in response to interactions with their abiotic and biotic environment by insects, microorganisms and plants and include carbohydrates, extracellular enzymes, lipids, nucleic acids, organic acids, peptides, secondary metabolites, and other bioactive molecules. Their functions range from protecting bacteria and fungi against parasitism and predation, to regulating plant and microbial growth and developmental stress responses, to forming networks of inter-kingdom communication and creating environmental and food-related toxicity. This interdisciplinary position will integrate research on the chemical interactome to promote quantitative understanding of the relative contribution and impact of the interactome to the beneficial and deleterious activities of these compounds on plant-microbe-insect associations. Significant opportunities exist for collaborations with university faculty and members of several research centers, including the Center for Integrated Fungal Research (CIFR), the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, and the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research. In addition, there are resources and opportunities for interactions with researchers at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, NC. The incumbent is expected to generate extramural funding to help support their research program following start-up resources and is expected to mentor graduate students and participate in the academic programs of the department.

Minimum qualifications include a PhD in a field of study directly related to the position. NC State University is especially interested in qualified candidates who can contribute, through their experience, research, teaching and/or service, to the diversity and excellence of the academic community. In addition to excellence in research and academics, the incumbent is expected to have demonstrable skills in verbal and written communication, interpersonal relations, and procurement of extramural funding. The position includes a competitive and comprehensive compensation and start-up package. Review of applications will proceed after January 13, 2017, until the position is filled. For further information, contact the Director of the Center for Integrated Fungal Research, Dr. Ignazio Carbone (ignazio_carbone@ncsu.edu). For a complete job description and details for submission of applications, please reference https://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/75575.

NC State is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Women and members of other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. In addition, NC State University welcomes all persons without regard to sexual orientation or genetic information. We welcome the opportunity to work with candidates to identify suitable employment opportunities for spouses or partners. Inclusiveness and diversity are integral to NC State’s commitment to excellence in research, engagement and education. The successful candidate will be expected to foster an environment that is welcoming of all groups.


Postdoc: Univ of Minnesota Fungal Genomics

Postdoctoral Position – Fungal Genomics and Metabolomics
University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

Position description:

A postdoctoral position focused on comparative genomics, metabolomics, and regulatory mechanisms of secondary metabolites in fungi is available in the Bushley lab. This project will focus on population genomics of fungi (Fusarium, Tolypocladium spp.) to investigate regulation and evolution of secondary metabolite genes, clusters, and metabolites. The project will
adopt an interdisciplinary approach that integrates next-generation genome sequencing and assembly, comparative genomics, and RNA-Seq experiments with analyses of chemical products. Genome resequencing will examine the roles of structural variation, transposition, selection, genome methylation, and other evolutionary processes in driving the diversification of secondary metabolite genes and clusters. Strain specific differences in metabolite expression will be investigated under a variety of different media conditions and data will be integrated to develop and analyze metabolic and regulatory networks involved in controlling secondary metabolism.

Minimum requirements:
A Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics, mycology, genomics, chemistry, biochemistry, or related fields. The ideal candidate will have existing skills in two or more of the following: experience in sequencing and analysis of next-generation sequence data, bioinformatics and comparative genomics, molecular biology, mass spectrometry, NMR, and a willingness to learn new techniques. The initial appointments is for 1 year, with an opportunity for renewal for a second year. The position is available beginning in June 2014. Start date is flexible. Salary range $38,000 – $43,000 depending on experience, plus health benefits.

To apply:
Any questions regarding the position should be directed to kbushley@umn.edu. Informal inquiries are welcome. Applicants must apply through the University of Minnesota Office of Human Resources website (http://employment.umn.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=119828) and include a CV, a cover letter detailing research interests and experience, and contact information for three references. Screening of applicants will begin May 15 until a suitable candidate is found.

Kathryn Bushley
Assistant Professor
University of Minnesota
Department of Plant Biology
822 BioSci Bldg
1445 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108

Deconstructing aflatoxin biosynthesis

A paper in Science from Jason Crawford and colleagues explores the function of polyketide synthetases (PKS) in the synthesis of the secondary metabolite and carcinogen aflatoxin. Previous work (nicely reviewed in the fungi by Nancy Keller and colleagues) has shown the the PKS genes have several domains. These domains include acyl carrier protein (ACP), transacylase (SAT), ketosynthase (KS), malonyl-CoA:ACP transacylase (MAT), “product template” PT, Aand thioesterase/Claisen cyclase (TE/CLC).  These domains make up PksA, but the specific role of each domain’s in synthesis steps has not been fully worked out. Understanding this process and the specificity of the chemical structures that are created can help in redesign of these enzymes for synthesis of new molecules and drugs.

Then authors cloning and combining the domains from a cDNA template of pksA [accession AY371490]  (from Aspergillus parasiticus) into various combinations and then evaluated the synthesized products via HPLC.  This deconstruction of a complicated protein and its domains is a great example of functionally mapping the role of each part of the enzyme and integrating with the biochemistry of the synthesized products.  The findings of this research also mapped a role for the PT product template domain which could suggest where modifications could be made to tweak the synthesized products by these enzymes.

Crawford, J.M., Thomas, P.M., Scheerer, J.R., Vagstad, A.L., Kelleher, N.L., Townsend, C.A. (2008). Deconstruction of Iterative Multidomain Polyketide Synthase Function. Science, 320(5873), 243-246. DOI: 10.1126/science.1154711

Evolution of aflatoxin gene cluster

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchIgnazio Carbone and colleagues published a recent analysis of the evolution of the aflatoxin gene cluster in five Aspergillus fungi entitled “Gene duplication, modularity and adaptation in the evolution of the aflatoxin gene cluster” in BMC Evolutionary Biology. The authors were able to identify seven modules pairs of genes whose history of duplication were highly correlated. Several genomes of Aspergillus have been sequenced along with more Eurotioales fungi. Continue reading Evolution of aflatoxin gene cluster

Exploring a global regulator of gene expression in Aspergillus

Blogging about Peer-Reviewed ResearchWhen first discovered, the gene LaeA was thought to be a master switch for silencing of several NRPS secondary metabolite gene clusters in Aspergillus. NRPS and PKS are important genes in filamentous fungi as they produce many compounds that likely help fungi compete in the ecological niche mycotoxins (e.g. aflatoxin, gliotoxin), plant hormone (e.g. Gibberellin), and a potential wealth of additional undiscovered activities.

A recent paper from Nancy Keller’s lab entitled Transcriptional Regulation of Chemical Diversity in Aspergillus fumigatus by LaeA has followed up previous studies with whole genome expression profiling of a LaeA knockout strain to explore the breadth of the genome that is regulated by this transcriptional regulator. Continue reading Exploring a global regulator of gene expression in Aspergillus