December 5, 2019

Funding for a Special Research Program in Targeted Protein Degradation

The Austrian Science Fund has awarded one of the prestigious Special Research Program (SFB) grants to a consortium of scientists in Vienna and Mainz to unravel mechanisms of targeted protein degradation. The program comprises scientists from Max Perutz Labs, University of Vienna, CeMM, GMI, IMBA and IMP from Vienna as well as IMB in Mainz.

The targeted degradation of proteins is essential for the well-being of our cells and thus for the entire organism. Damaged proteins must be recognized and removed to prevent collateral damage. In addition, proteins must be removed in a targeted manner in order to allow the activation, but also the deactivation of cellular signal transduction pathways. Defects in the targeted degradation of proteins can result in diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration.


In this FWF-funded Special Research Program (SFB, Spezialforschungsbereich), the groups of Andreas Bachmair, Elif Karagöz, Alwin Köhler, Sascha Martens and Gijs Versteeg (Max Perutz Labs Vienna), Joanna Loizou and Georg Winter (CeMM Vienna), Christian Becker (University of Vienna), Petra Beli (IMB Mainz), Tim Clausen (IMP Vienna), Yasin Dagdas (GMI Vienna) and Noelia Urban (IMBA Vienna) team up to unravel the crosstalk between the two major cellular proteolytic pathways, the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and autophagy, in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus. Furthermore, they will investigate how small molecules can be used to chemically reprogram the degradation systems, enabling the targeted proteolysis of selected proteins in a spatially and temporally controlled manner.


The program, coordinated by Sascha Martens at the Max Perutz Labs Vienna, has evolved from the Ubiquitin Club, a network of scientists at the Vienna BioCenter, who are interested in the function of ubiquitin and other related modifiers.


About the Special Research Program grant:

Length: min. 4 years, with potential of continuation up to 8 years

Funding: over 4.5 million € for 4 years

Members: 12 groups from 7 institutes/universities in 2 countries

Goal: establishing a highly productive, interdisciplinary research group to answer complex research questions


Link to FWF Press Release