Information for Researchers No. 58 | 10 September 2018
Priority Programme “Deciphering the mRNP code: RNA-bound Determinants of Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation” (SPP 1935)
In 2015, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Deciphering the mRNP code: RNA-bound Determinants of Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation” (SPP 1935). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period.
Messenger RNAs (mRNAs) interact with trans-acting factors, including proteins and various non-coding RNAs, at all stages of their life. Since there are many mRNA-interacting factors and each mRNA encodes a particular protein, the resulting ribonucleoprotein particle (mRNPs) is unique in its composition. The composition of each mRNP is important because this “mRNP code” is believed to control the fate and function of each individual mRNA in every cell. As many of the mRNP-associated factors become recruited, re-organised and released according to specific needs in the mRNA’s life cycle, the code is highly dynamic and reflects the functional status of each mRNA.
It is the goal of the Priority Programme to “decipher the mRNP code” of eukaryotes. We aim to achieve this goal by bringing together researchers from disciplines as diverse as systems biology, biochemistry, structural biology and bioinformatics to develop and apply methods allowing insight into the composition of mRNPs, how they are assembled and remodelled and how they function in specific cellular settings of gene expression.
Projects to be funded within this programme will focus on either:
- the systematic identification of mRNA-binding proteins (mRBPs) and their binding sites on mRNA
- the analysis of mRNP complexes by conventional and high throughput methods to study their composition and function(s)
- the analysis of mechanistic and functional aspects of mRNP assembly, remodelling and disassembly in the context of gene regulation
Ideally, more than one of the abovementioned research directions are covered in the projects. Principal investigators (PI) are also expected to have a strong record in the field of RNA biology.
The highly demanding analysis of mRNPs often requires collaborative projects to tackle complex biological questions or to analyse large amounts of data. We therefore encourage researchers to submit tandem/interdisciplinary projects with PI from different but complementary disciplines. Such projects could combine for example bioinformatics and systems biology or biochemistry, structural biology and functional biochemistry etc.
Projects addressing the following topics will not be funded:
- the analysis of the functions of non-coding RNPs, such as lncRNPs, snRNPs or ribosomes if these do not involve an analysis of mRNA
- projects aimed at solving structures of RBPs or RNPs without additional functional analysis
- studies investigating gene expression without a clear involvement of RBPs or lacking mechanistic insights
- studies of prokaryotic or viral mRNPs
Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 16 January 2019. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system.
Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 2 January 2019 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal process.
If you would like to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 1935” from the current list of calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal.
In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal. In addition to submitting your proposal via elan, please send an electronic copy to the programme coordinator.
More information on the Priority Programme is available under:
The elan system can be accessed at:
DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:
For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinators:
- Prof. Dr. Niels H. Gehring,
University of Cologne,
Zülpicher Str. 47a,
phone +49 221 470-3873,
Link auf E-Mailngehring@uni-koeln.de
- Prof. Dr. Utz Fischer,
University of Wuerzburg,
phone +49 931 31-84029,
Link auf E-Mailutz.email@example.com
Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:
- Programme contact:
Dr. Michael Müller,
phone +49 228 885-2591,
Link auf E-Mailmichael.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Administrative contact:
phone +49 228 885-2139,
Link auf E-Mailanja.email@example.com
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