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Rainbow trout amino acid metabolism: from amino acid uptake to outcomes on trout physiology
Deadline for applications
Date of publication


Details on the type of contract
PhD contract
Duration of contract
3 years

23 k€ / an


Name of unit of assignment
UMR1419 NUMEA Nutrition, Métabolisme, Aquaculture
Address of unit of assignment
INRA Aquapôle de Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle - 173 Route de Saint-Jean-de-Luz RD 918 - 64310 SAINT-PEE-SUR-NIVELLE
Website of unit of assignment
Region of assignment


Working environment

Missions and activities entrusted :

Scientific background:

Fisheries and aquaculture remain important sources of food, nutrition, income and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people around the world. World per capita fish supply reached a new record high of 20 kg in 2014, thanks to vigorous growth in aquaculture, which now provides half of all fish for human consumption (FAO, 2016). Aquaculture therefore plays an increasingly important role in the global food system, the environment, and human health. However, the sustainability of this practice, which requires large inputs of wild fish for feed, has been questioned. Thus, the replacement of fishmeal and fish oil by proteins and oil of alternative origin is a major objective for sustainable aquaculture, and needs improving scientific knowledge in order to optimize fish growth potential while maintaining aquatic products quality and lowering environmental impacts.

One of the most striking nutritional characteristics of most fish farmed in Europe is their high protein requirement. Indeed, if most mammals require about 15% of their diet as a protein source to be healthy, in most of aquacultured fish species this value reaches 45% demonstrating their strong and specific dependency on amino acid metabolism. Previous studies in rainbow trout, notably from our laboratory, identified the deleterious outcomes of in-balanced amino acid diets on growth and health but the molecular mechanisms involved in these effects still need to be clarified.




In this context, we propose to study amino acid metabolism in rainbow trout, from specific amino acid transporter activities to signalling pathways governed by amino acids. Despite that amino acids were previously shown to activate the mechanistic Target Of Rapamycin Complex 1 (mTORC1) in trout – a protein complex responsible for cell growth and proliferation – nothing is known about the mechanisms by which amino acids are up-taken in trout. Aware that amino acid transporters are crucial players in mammals for mTORC1 activation, we aim to identify amino acid transporters in trout and study their specificities as well as the outcomes of their different expression levels on trout metabolism and physiology.

This project represents a great opportunity for a PhD student to acquire a full range of skills and knowledges to perform an integrative study (from gene to animal) using in vitro and in vivo approaches.


Using fish cell lines, the PhD student will learn basic and innovative molecular and cellular technics useful to understand trout’s amino acid metabolism and signalling. Furthermore, the PhD student will have the chance to challenge his/her hypothesis built fromin vitroresults by performingin vivoexperiments for which best candidate genes will be deleted from whole organism to evaluate outcomes on the physiology, growth and health of trout. Altogether this study will considerably help to better understand amino acid metabolism in trout and will offer new strategies to develop appropriate diets for trout aquaculture.

The successful candidate will work in a young and dynamic group in close collaborations with local, national and international talented scientists. He/she will also be given the opportunity to be involved in the teaching program of the University of Pau for a total of 32 hours per years.


Key words:mTOR, amino acid metabolism, autophagy, growth factor, fish, aquaculture

Training and skills required

Recommended training: Master degree in biochemistry or cellular biology
Desired knowledges: Metabolism, autophagy and cellular signalisation
Desired experience: Internship in a research laboratory (6 months). A previous experience in molecular and cell biology techniques would be a plus.
Desiredskills: The candidate is passionate for biology, rigorous and highly motivated. The candidate must have a good English level and the capacity to work autonomously.


Application will include (in a single pdf file):

-          A curriculum vitae,

-          A motivation letter,

-          2 reference letters


Application must be send to the following email address with the title “Phd application”: