Ub-Net Ubiquitin Networks

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

LOEWE Research Cluster


  • Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main
  • Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim
  • Merck-Serono GmbH, Darmstadt

Fields of study

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular biology
  • Structural biology
  • Cellular biology
  • Developmental biology
  • Model organisms
  • Protein engineering
  • Bioinformatics
  • Systems biology
  • Physical biology
  • Biomedicine
  • Molecular haematology
  • Molecular oncology

Funding period

2014 to 2017

Project Coordinator

  • Prof. Dr. Ivan Dikic,
    Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main


  • Frankfurt am Main

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