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Epithelial cell activation by Candidalysin, a novel fungal peptide toxin

*Please note, this project is self-funded*

Project details

Supervisor: Professor Julian Naglik

Duration: Three years

Mode of study: Full-time

Funding: Self-funded

Eligibility: Home/EU

Application deadline: Open until suitable candidate is found

Reference number: 2017/DI/18 

Project description

Candida albicans is the most common fungal pathogen in humans and causes mucosal (oral, vaginal) and life-threatening systemic infections. C. albicans is pathogenic because it forms highly penetrative hyphal filaments that induce strong inflammatory responses and tissue damage. We recently identified a hyphal protein with ‘toxin-like’ activity that appears essential for C. albicanspathogenicity at mucosal surfaces. Currently, there is no information about the transcription factor(s) that regulate the expression of this fungal toxin.

The project will undertake a systematic analysis of the promoter of this hyphal gene to identify transcription factors essential for regulating toxin activity and fungal pathogenesis. A panel of promoter deletion mutants will be constructed and used to quantify transcriptional activity in a C. albicans strain lacking the gene promoter. DNA footprint analysis will be performed in parallel with DNA sequencing to identify the precise region(s) and consensus sequence(s) for transcription factor binding. Once the consensus binding site(s) have been identified, site directed mutagenesis will be used to mutate individual nucleotides to dissect the precise requirements for transcription factor binding and gene activation. The impact of promoter deletions on C. albicans virulence and immune activation will be assessed in vitro and in vivo.

To view entry requirements and further course information, see the Dental and Health Sciences Research MPhil/PhD. 

Next steps

How to apply

Please apply online at following these steps:

  1. Register a new account/login
  2. Once logged in, select Create a new application
  3. Enter ‘Dental and Health Sciences Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time/Part-time)' under Choose a programme. Please ensure you select the correct mode of study
  4. Select a start date from the list under Entry requirements on this webpage.

Please note: Applicants must include the project reference number in the 'Research proposal' section of the application.

Contact for further information

Professor Julian Naglik (

Related division Mucosal & Salivary Biology.

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