We are addressing protein quality control in the early secretory pathway and its connection to autophagy. Our research is driven by curiosity and belongs to basic research but has strong ties with clinical research given that many human diseases are linked to abnormalities and age-related deterioration of cellular protein quality control.
We aim to answer the following key questions:
- Why can certain misfolded and non-functional proteins escape quality control mechanisms inside the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the entry point into the secretory pathway?
- How are those species detected after they have left the ER?
- What cellular mechanisms lead to their transport to the lysosome/vacuole for degradation?
- What triggers the switch from proteasome-dependent protein degradation (ERAD/EGAD) to lysosome/vacuole-dependent protein degradation (autophagy)?
Our model organism is the yeast S.cerevisiae, one of the most powerful eukaryotic model systems.