• Ub-Net

    The secret code of the small protein ubiquitin

Ubiquitin Networks (Ub-Net)

Ubiquitin is a small protein that occurs almost everywhere (i.e. is ubiquitous) and has a regulatory function in many cellular processes. It is attached to other proteins, changes their characteristics and functions within the cells, thereby regulating important processes such as the breakdown of proteins, the repair of DNA damage, the transmission of signals within a cell and cell death.

Ubiquitin can be bound to other proteins in many different ways – sometimes only one ubiquitin molecule is attached, sometimes branched chains of several ubiquitin molecules. Scientists call it a secret code, which is transmitted by those different molecular structures of ubiquitin and which still needs to be deciphered. Errors in this sophisticated system have not only been linked to numerous diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s, but also to the development and progression of infections and inflammatory diseases. In addition, ubiquitin seems to play an important role in biological ageing. To date, however, little is known about how small errors in this system contribute to the development of serious diseases and how targeted therapeutic measures can be taken.

This is where the LOEWE research cluster comes in. The scientists involved 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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JGL2: Bioinformatics
Dr. Kathi Zarnack
BMLS, GU Frankfurt