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Priority Programme "Small Proteins in Prokaryotes, an Unexplored World" (SPP 2002)
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has announced the establishment of a new Priority Programme entitled "Small Proteins in Prokaryotes, an Unexplored World" (SPP 2002). The Priority Programme is designed to run for six years; the present call invites proposals for the first three-year funding period.

Prokaryotes are highly abundant and diverse organisms that have a broad impact on the environment and our health, and are crucial for biotechnology and the food industry. To fully understand their versatile lifestyles and exploit their metabolic capacities, we must know their biochemical repertoires and cellular regulatory processes. Modern genomics and transcriptomics technology have over the past decade discovered a wealth of hidden small genes containing short open reading frames (sORFs) in many prokaryotic genomes. These sORFs encode µ-proteins of < 50 amino acids in length, and are typically missed by automated gene predictions.

This Priority Programme aims to unravel this emerging major class of prokaryotic gene products in order to examine the full repertoire, functions and functional importance of the prokaryotic µ-proteome. With the overall goal to identify the composition and characterise the function(s) of the prokaryotic µ-proteome this Priority Programme exclusively focusses on ribosomally synthesised µ-proteins in prokaryotes and excludes the analysis of peptides generated by processing of larger proteins or non-ribosomal biogenesis.

Projects to be funded have to address two of the following aspects:
global identification of µ-proteins in selected prokaryotes using comparative genomics, translatomics and/or peptidomics elucidate the functions and interaction partners of µ-proteins
as well as their underlying molecular mechanisms advance novel analytical tools to identify and functionally characterise µ-proteins and their physiological roles.

Achieving the goals of this Priority Programme requires an interdisciplinary cooperation of researchers in microbiology, infection biology, plant physiology, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, genomics as well as applied bioinformatics.

Proposals must be submitted in English via the DFG's electronic submission system "elan" selecting "SPP 2002" no later than 12 December 2016. The envisaged start of funding is summer 2017.

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme's coordinator:
Professor Dr. Ruth Schmitz-Streit, Department of Microbiology, Kiel University,
phone +49 431 880-4334, rschmitz@ifam.uni-kiel.de

Further instructions on submitting a proposal are supplied by the DFG:
For scientific matters:
Dr. Regina Nickel, phone +49 228 885-2032, regina.nickel@dfg.de
For administrative matters:
Markus Benz, phone +49 228 885-2467, markus.benz@dfg.de

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