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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 27 | 30. April 2015
Priority Programme “Deciphering the mRNP code: RNA-bound Determinants of Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation” (SPP 1935)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established the Priority Programme “Deciphering the mRNP code: RNA-bound Determinants of Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation” (SPP 1935) which is intended to run for six years. This call invites proposals for the first 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 this 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 include:

  • the systematic identification of binding sites of mRNA-binding proteins (mRBPs) and high throughput analysis of mRNP complexes to study the formation and function(s) of mRNPs
  • the analysis of mechanistic and functional aspects of mRNP assembly, remodelling and disassembly
  • the analysis of mRNA binding protein function during gene expression within the context of a complex mRNP, and
  • the development of new techniques enabling mRNP analysis

Ideally, more than one of the abovementioned research directions are covered in the proposed projects. PIs are also expected to have previous experience in the field of mRNP analysis.

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 project with PIs 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
  • studies of prokaryotic or viral mRNPs

Proposals must be submitted in English no later than 7 October 2015 via the DFG’s electronic submission system “elan” selecting “SPP 1935”. If you are using the elan system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional address before being able to submit a proposal. Also, if you are planning to move to a different institution (e.g. with a Temporary Position for Principal Investigators) you need to update your institutional address beforehand. Please make sure that all applicants of your project (in case there is more than one) start their registration at the latest two weeks before the submission deadline.

Please follow the guidelines for project submission according to forms 50.05en and 54.01en. Proposals must be written in English and must not exceed 20 pages. Please notice the rules for publication lists (form 1.91en).

Further information

The DFG’s electronic portal “elan” can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in DFG forms 50.05en (Section B) and 54.01en, which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

For scientific queries concerning the focus of the programme, please contact the Priority Programme’s coordinators:

For grant-related queries please contact the DFG: