SFB 1177

Molecular and Functional Characterization of Selective Autophagy

Autophagy is a highly conserved catabolic process that serves as a quality control mechanism in cells by selectively removing damaged and superfluous organelles or other harmful cytosolic material, such as aggregated proteins or invaded bacteria. Under stress or energy restriction autophagy provides recycled building blocks for the synthesis of new cellular components. Three different types of autophagy can be distinguished: macroautophagy, microautophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy. This SFB focuses on macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy), a multi-step cellular process by which cytosolic material is engulfed by a double-membrane, termed autophagosome after closure, which eventually fuses with a lysosome in order to eliminate its content. Autophagy plays a vital role in protecting against disease, but in recent years it became clear that the effect of autophagy is highly contextual. While it acts for instance as an anti-tumorigenic mechanism in healthy cells, cancer cells exploit the cytoprotective effect of autophagy to overcome stress conditions and nutrient limitation caused by rapid tumor growth. SFB 1177 aims at gaining a more detailed insight into the mechanistic details of autophagic pathways to better understand its role in disease development and eventually exploit this knowledge therapeutically.

Funded by DFG


Speaker: Prof. MD PhD Ivan Dikic Image: 2019-07/ivan-dikic-h.jpg
IBC2 BMLS, Goethe-Universität - Fachbereich Medizin
Phone: +49 69 6301-5652
Send an Email to Ivan Dikic Website of Prof. MD PhD Ivan Dikic

Vice Speaker: Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christian Behl Image: peoples/behl-1-.gif
Institute for Pathobiochemistry
University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Phone: +49 6131 39-25890
Send an Email to Christian Behl Website of Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christian Behl

Coordinator: Laura Spindler Image: peoples/laura-spindler-1-.jpg
IBC2 Goethe-Universität - Fachbereich Medizin
Office: +49 69 6301-848 32
Fax: +49 69 6301-84975
Send an Email to Laura Spindler Website of  Laura Spindler

Activities and News

New Editor-in-Chief for Journal of Cellular Biochemistry: Christian Behl

04. Dec 2020

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In summer 2020, Christian Behl took over the task of new Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry (Wiley). Together with the newly established editorial board (including now Christian Münch), a renewal of the Aims and Scope was implemented and the Author Guidelines and Data Reporting Policy were strictly adapted in order to ensure quality standards.
In the near future, Christian Behl intends to also promote special issues on SFB 1177-relevant topics such as autophagy, quality control and many more. In additon, he highly encourages the consortium members to submit original papers and reviews to the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry - a fair, objective, high quality and timely review process is guaranteed. For any related questions feel free to contact Christian anytime (

Christian Behl is Director of the Institute for Pathobiochemistry at the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Vice Speaker of SFB 1177 since 2016 and project leader of the E04-project on BAG3-mediated selective autophagy in neuronal protein homeostasis and neurodegeneration. 

  1. Announcement

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Ivan Đikić honored as Highly Cited Researcher 2020

18. Nov 2020

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For the third year in a row, IBC2 Director Ivan Đikić is recognized as one of the pioneers in his field on Clarivate’s Highly Cited Researchers list. His papers rank in the top 1% by citations in the field of “Molecular Biology & Genetics”. In previous years, he was honored for his exceptional performance in the “Molecular Biology & Genetics” and the “Cross-Field” sections.

The highly anticipated annual list identifies pioneers in the respective fields who demonstrated significant and broad influence by publishing multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Their names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index. The papers analyzed were published between 2009 and 2019.
Approximately 6,000 researchers worldwide are named in this years’ list, 345 of them are based in Germany. Besides Ivan Đikić, seven other colleagues from Goethe University have been credited. The global pole position is traditionally taken by Harvard University.

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Münch group describes potential COVID-19 therapies

13. May 2020

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Despite COVID-19 quickly developing to a world-wide pandemic, treatment options remain limited. The mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 enters cells, how the cell responds to infection, and which therapeutic approaches could stop viral replication remain unclear. In a manuscript published today in the renowned journal Nature, IBC2 group leader Christian Münch, together with Jindrich Cinatl (Institute of Medical Virology, University Hospital Frankfurt), provide with answers to these questions. Using SARS-CoV-2 isolated from COVID-19 patients in Frankfurt, they established a cellular model to study coronavirus infection. Using a recently developed novel translation proteomics method (, they analysed how viral infection changes cellular protein synthesis and abundance. This revealed several cellular pathways strongly modulated upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Strikingly, using drugs targeting these pathways – some of which are approved for use in other diseases – prevented SARS-CoV-2 replication in cells. This reveals potential new therapeutic strategies for specific COVID-19 treatments and have been picked up for ongoing (ribavirin) and planned (2-deoxy-glucose) clinical trials.

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read more news Georg Speyer Haus Institut für Molekulare Biologie Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz The Max Planck Institute of Biophysics Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg