LOEWE project Ubiquitin Networks (Ub-Net)

Ub-Net is a collaborative research cluster established in January 2014 in the Frankfurt area, following the positive funding decision of the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts (HMWK). The network is funded as part of the Hessian Excellence Initiative (Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz, LOEWE) with almost 4.3 M Euros over three years. It is led by Ivan Dikic (Institute of Biochemistry 2, Goethe University Frankfurt), with partners located in four University faculties , at the Buchmann Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim. The company Merck-Serono in Darmstadt is participating as an associated partner.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that occurs almost everywhere (i.e. is ubiquitous). It is involved in the regulation of numerous cellular pathways, amongst them essential processes like the breakdown of proteins, the repair of DNA damage, the transmission of signals or the decision about cell death. Ubiquitin exerts its action by binding to other proteins, thereby changing their characteristics and functions within the cells. Attachment of Ubiquitin can occur in many different ways – sometimes only a single molecule is bound, sometimes branched chains of several ubiquitin molecules. These different molecular structures of ubiquitin are acting like a secret code and are the key to its highly specific function in so many different processes.
Errors in this sophisticated system have been linked to numerous diseases including cancer, neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s, the development and progression of infections and inflammatory diseases. In addition, ubiquitin seems to play an important role in biological ageing. The scientists involved in Ub-Net are striving to decipher the complexity of ubiquitin networks and to analyse the underlying molecular details. They hope to be able to develop new strategies for the treatment of diseases and to gain novel insight into the mechanisms of biological ageing.

Research projects

(for intranet project access click here)

A1: Structural characterization of complexes involved in ERAD
Prof. Dr. Volker Dötsch
Institute of Biophysical Chemistry, GU Frankfurt

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A2: Regulation of substrate specifity of proteasomal Ub receptors
Dr. Koraljka Husnjak
Institute of Biochemistry II, GU Frankfurt

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A3: Specificity of proteasomal degradation under acute starvation
Dr. Martin Vabulas
BMLS, GU Frankfurt

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A4: Ub networks in regulation of Salmonella autophagy
Prof. Dr. Ivan Dikic
Institute of Biochemistry II, GU Frankfurt

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A5: Regulation, recognition and function of poly-SUMO chains
Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller
Institute of Biochemistry II, GU Frankfurt

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B1: Role of Ub networks in autophagy
Dr. Christian Behrends
Institute of Biochemistry II, GU Frankfurt,

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B2: Role of UPS networks in embryonic development
Dr. Christian Pohl
BMLS, GU Frankfurt

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B3: Quantitative analysis of Ubiquitin signals in 3D tissue models utilizing dynamic 3D fluorescence microscopy
Prof. Dr. Ernst Stelzer, Dr. Francesco Pampaloni
BMLS, GU Frankfurt

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B4: Mathematical modeling to explore the role of Ub-receptors in the clearance of intracellular pathogens
Prof. Dr. Ina Koch
Molecular Bioinformatics, GU Frankfurt

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B5: Impact of the UPS mediated mitochondrial quality control for ageing
Prof. Dr. Heinz Osiewacz
Institute for Molecular Bio Science, GU Frankfurt

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B6: Dynamic regulation of Notch signaling by deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs)
Dr. Michael Potente
MPI for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim

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C1: Regulation of apoptosis and necrosis by Ub networks
Prof. Dr. Simone Fulda
Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Pediatrics, GU Frankfurt

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C2: Ub dependent regulation of MAPK cascades
Dr. Krishna Rajalingam
Institute of Biochemistry II, GU Frankfurt

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C3: Ubiquitination of FLT3 and KIT in normal and malignant hematopoiesis
PD Dr. Christian Brandts
Department of Medicine II, GU Frankfurt

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C4: Ub networks in human leukemias
Prof. Dr. Hubert Serve/Dr. Sebastian Wagner
Department of Medicine II, GU Frankfurt

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C5: Ub networks in innate immunity
Prof. Dr. Liliana Schaefer
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, GU Frankfurt

JGL1: Protein engineering
Dr. Andreas Ernst
Institute of Biochemistry II, GU Frankfurt

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JGL2: Bioinformatics
Dr. Kathi Zarnack
BMLS, GU Frankfurt



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