Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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ZMBH_Mayer_Erhardt0117 - Scientist (f/m) / PhD position
Project no:

Project leader:

Project supervisor:
Mayer, Matthias
Erhardt, Sylvia
Application deadline:
30. Apr 2018
Start of PhD project:
1. Jun 2018

Project description:

Unravelling the conformation of the centromeric histone loading complex
Histone variants are essential for many important cellular processes, for instance in DNA damage repair by phosphorylating H2A.X at sites of DNA breaks, or for chromosome segregation by incorporating the histone variant CENP-A to centromeric chromatin regions. The precise regulation and incorporation of many histone variants into chromatin is, however, still not fully understood. This projects will focus on the essential centromere-specific histone H3 variant CENP-A and its highly regulated loading process to centromeric regions during mitosis.
Specifically, we would like to understand how post-translational modifications and nucleic acids stabilize the complex and introduce conformational changes to enabling a loading-competent complex to form. We will use a wide range of techniques, including fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy, amide hydrogen (1H/2H)-exchange in combination with high-resolution mass spectrometry.

For more information on the groups, please visit our websites ( and
Bade D, Paulau AL, Wendler A, Erhardt S.The E3 Ligase CUL3/RDX Controls Centromere Maintenance by Ubiquitylating and Stabilizing CENP-A in a CAL1-Dependent Manner. Developmental Cell 2014 Mar 10;28(5):508-19

Rošić S, Köhler F, Erhardt S. Repetitive centromeric satellite RNA is essential for kinetochore formation and cell division. J. Cell Biol. 2014 Nov 10;207(3):335-49.
Methods that will be used:
Cooperation partners:
The project will be a collaboration of the Mayer and Erhardt group of the ZMBH, will be EU-funded (ERC) and associated with research consortia within Heidelberg
Personal qualifications:
We are looking for a highly motivated and interactive PhD student with a strong background in protein biochemistry and molecular biology. The ideal candidate has a strong interest in chromatin biology and enjoys being part of an international and collaborative team.