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LICAMM Advanced glycation end products, diabetes and heart failure


Key facts

Type of research degree
4 year PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (outside UK)
Dr Charlie Scarff
Additional supervisors
Professor Michelle Peckham, Dr Lee Roberts
School of Medicine
Research groups/institutes
Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Diabetes doubles the risk of developing heart failure. Recently, it has been shown that glycation of actin, which is increased in patients with diabetes, reduces calcium sensitivity [1,2]. Depressed calcium sensitivity is pathogenic for heart failure; therefore, myofilament glycation represents a promising therapeutic target to inhibit the development of heart failure in diabetics. To enable this, we need to understand myofilament glycation in more detail; which sarcomere proteins become glycated, what are the sites of glycation and modifications observed, and what is the effect of glycation on sarcomeric protein structure, interactions, and function? Different methylglyoxal modifications have been observed on myosin in diabetic patients compared to non-diabetics but the effects on myosin structure and interactions have not been explored. Glycation appears to lead to a reduced rate of attachment of myosin to actin, altering contraction. How glycation causes this is unknown but it may do this by stabilising an off-state of myosin termed the interacting-heads motif.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p style="text-align:justify">The aim of the project is to test the hypothesis that glycation of sarcomere proteins leads to dysregulation of contraction, contributing to the development of heart failure in diabetics. The objectives will be to:</p> <ul> <li>Determine the range of advanced glycation end products observed on key sarcomeric proteins by mass spectrometry (formed by treatment with different glycating agents e.g. methylglyoxal, glucose; comparing changes in expressed protein with those from skinned cardiomyocytes).</li> <li>Determine the effects of glycation on the structure, function and interactions of beta-cardiac myosin by biochemical assay, in vitro motility assay, electron microscopy and hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry.</li> </ul> <h5>References</h5> <ol> <li>Papadaki, M. et al. Diabetes with heart failure increases methylglyoxal modifications in the sarcomere, which inhibit function. JCI Insight 3, (2018)</li> <li>Papadaki, M. et al. Myofilament glycation in diabetes reduces contractility by inhibiting tropomyosin movement, is rescued by cMyBPC domains. J. Mol. Cell. Cardiol. 162, 1&ndash;9 (2022).</li> </ol> <p style="margin-left:43px; text-indent:-32.0pt">&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Please note these are not standalone projects and applicants must apply to the PhD academy directly.</p> <p>Applications can be made at any time. You should complete an <a href="">online application form</a> and attach the following documentation to support your application.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>a full academic CV</li> <li>degree certificate and transcripts of marks (or marks so far if still studying)</li> <li>Evidence that you meet the programme&rsquo;s minimum English language requirements (if applicable, see requirement below)</li> <li>Evidence of funding to support your studies</li> </ul> <p>To help us identify that you are applying for this project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;</p> <ul> <li>Select PhD in Medicine, Health &amp; Human Disease as your planned programme of study</li> <li>Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

A degree in biological sciences, dentistry, medicine, midwifery, nursing, psychology or a good honours degree in a subject relevant to the research topic. A Masters degree in a relevant subject area is desirable but not essential.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The minimum requirements for this programme in IELTS and TOEFL tests are: &bull; British Council IELTS - score of 7.0 overall, with no element less than 6.5 &bull; TOEFL iBT - overall score of 100 with the listening and reading element no less than 22, writing element no less than 23 and the speaking element no less than 24.

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact the Faculty Graduate School<br /> e:<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>