The epigenetic regulation of NFAT transcription factors in exercise
Loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength is an increasing problem in a growing elderly population, affecting both life quality and mortality. One way to maintain the muscle tissue is through exercise.
Muscle is a marble tissue, though it is fully differentiated, it´s able to transdifferentiate to other muscle types.
One important regulator of muscle development and phenotype is the family of NFAT transcription factors. The family consists of four activity-regulated members. Upon calcium release, the members translocate from the cytoplasm to the nucleus where they bind to target genes, coupling gene expression to change in intercellular environment.
The NFATs are important for the development and phenotype of skeletal muscle. It is shown that their activity is greatly enhanced during exercise, but their exact role is not fully understood.
To further explore the role of NFAT in skeletal muscle and how they contribute to muscle plasticity we have projects available for one or two students. The projects aim to investigate how NFAT together with its interaction partners are regulating the muscle response through alteration of epigenetic marks at target sites in the genome (see Figure 1).
The student will during the master learn a range different molecular and physiological methods: Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), qPCR, mammalian cell culture, western blotting, cloning, confocal imaging and handling of animals.
The project will be performed at the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology in the laboratory of Professor Kristian Gundersen. The candidate will be supervised jointly by Mads Bengtsen and Kristian Gundersen.
If any questions, contact Mads Bengtsen (email@example.com) / Kristine Bonnevies hus room 2611).
Figure 1:. Transcription factor controlling gene expression through alteration of the chromatin and epigenetic environment. Figure adapted from Salariuspharma.