Characterization of unexplored prokaryotic Argonaute proteins

Prokaryotic Argonautes are a large family of proteins that are, among other things, involved in immunity against invading nucleic acids. However, many orthologs of this family are only known from bioinformatics studies, and their function is unknown. In this project, we study uncharacterized Argonaute proteins.


Argonaute proteins can be found in all domains of life. They bind a small single stranded nucleic acid which they use as a guide to target other nucleic acids with a complementary sequence. The most studied Argonaute proteins are found in eukaryotes (eAgos). Many eAgo isoforms exist, all of which are involved, either as single proteins or as multi-protein complexes, in RNA silencing. Argonaute systems can also be found in prokaryotes (pAgos). Even though they are less studied, pAgos are very widespread and can be found in various archaea and bacteria. pAgos were shown to protect prokaryotes against invading nucleic acids, like bacteriophages and plasmids, by recognizing their DNA sequence and cleaving it, resulting in invader neutralization.

Join the project for a bachelor or master thesis

As a thesis student you will:

  • Learn various biochemical, microbial, and biophysical techniques
  • Perform both in vitro & in vivo experiments
  • Perform molecular cloning and express and purify proteins


Do you have a question about argonautes, or would you like to join us as a student researcher? Please contact us.