G-quadruplex aptamers for cervical cancer therapy: structure, function and application
Portugal ( PorMSIC) - University Beira Interior, Covilha
CICS - Health Science Research Centre
Prof. Ana Paula Duarte
Dra. Carla Cruz, MSc. Josue Carvalho
English, Spanish, Portuguese
4 weeks
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Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
G-quadruplexes are high-order structures that arise from the ability of G-rich sequences to fold into four-stranded structures. These structures appear to be involved in key cellular processes such as transcription, alternative splicing, and translation. Due to their biological significant location and function, several G-quadruplex ligands have been developed as anti-cancer agents owing to their ability to modulate the transcriptional activity of oncogenes. Aptamers are single-stranded DNA or RNA (ssDNA or ssRNA) molecules that can bind to pre-selected targets including proteins and peptides with high affinity and specificity, being able to adopt G-quadruplex conformations. G-quadruplex aptamers are of the highest importance since these are suitable candidates in the pharmacotherapy of cancer.
What is the aim of the project?
This project aims to develop and characterize G-quadruplex aptamers using techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), circular dichroism (CD), fluorescence and other biophysical techniques. Moreover, these aptamers will be tested in terms of cytotoxicity and efficacy using HeLa cells and normal fibroblasts.
What techniques and methods are used?
Nuclear magnetic resonance, circular dichroism, fluorescence based techniques, cell culture and cytotoxicity assays.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student is expected to contribute to the research being development, in close collaboration with the project team. He/she will learn and participate in all the procedures and techniques proposed, which will greatly contribute to his/her expertise and know-how, while giving a major contribution to the project itself. The student will acquire skills in the molecular and structural biology field, specifically with G-quadruplex DNA, and practical knowledge that is required for any other field regarding the techniques and procedures that will be developed and trained. At the end the student is expected to acquire autonomy and expertise in terms of research lab work, which is greatly contribute to its professional training. The student, upon successful completion of the tasks proposed, will be able to present the work developed in the CICS Annual Symposium by way of a poster communication.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
The team will provide the trainees all the theoretical teaching necessary for the development of the project, before and during its period.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a poster
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
The student should have basic knowledge regarding lab safety and material handling, as well as for basic techniques such as the preparation of solutions and basic equipment handling. The student should maintain the confidentiality of the results and the project. After the exchange the student should prepare a small scientific report summarizing its experience and results obtained.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- J. Carvalho; J. Ferreira; P. Pereira; E. Coutinho; A. Gu