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
18. Aug 2021
Christian Münch, group leader at the IBC2, will receive the Otto Meyerhof Award 2021 by the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM). The award honours the outstanding research performance of young investigators under 40. The research of the Münch group focuses on the elucidation of cellular stress responses upon protein misfolding and as a consequence of disease-causing mutations and infections, building on Münch’s in-depth expertise in quantitative mass spectrometry and system biology approaches.
To quantitatively measure small changes in protein translation, the group developed a new analytical method called multiplexed enhanced protein dynamics (mePROD) proteomics. This approach has helped to study the effects of mTOR inhibition and integrated stress response activation (Klann et al., Mol Cell 2020). It is broadly adaptable to very different research questions, as very successfully shown by Münch and his team after onset of the corona pandemic: Within a matter of a few weeks, they were able to determine host cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection (Bojkova et al., Nature 2020) providing important insights into changes imposed by the virus upon host cells. Further analyses revealed cellular pathways that are crucial for SARS-CoV-2 replication in cells (Klann et al., Mol Cell 2020) These studies pointed to new therapeutic targets that are now under clinical evaluation or approved for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The Otto Meyerhof Award is endowed with 5,000 Euros, funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma. The prize ceremony will take place virtually on the 16th of September, with Christian Münch presenting the award lecture on „Dynamic protein synthesis changes in stress and disease”. For those wishing to attend the event, registration until the 14th of September is required: https://gbm-online.de/gbm-awards-event.html.
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07. Jun 2021
Starting in July 2021, Professor Dr. Liliana Schaefer will take over the new Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology.
Dr. Schaefer is an expert in Matrix biology, Pharmacology and Nephropharmacology and has contributed significantly to the field of Physiology by unraveling that two components of the extracellular matrix, decorin and biglycan, act as endogenous “danger” signals when in soluble form in the blood and body fluids.
She is a Professor of Pharmacology at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany and Adjunct Research Professor of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA. In addition, Liliana Schaefer has been PI of SFB 1177 since the first funding period in 2016 and is currently represented with her E02-project “Selective autophagy network in diabetic nephropathy”.
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04. Dec 2020
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
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