RTG 2737 – STRESSistance


Research within the STRESSistance team will (1) elucidate molecular mechanisms that counteract stress-induced impairments of membrane-dependent processes and organelle function, (2) identify representative cellular signaling pathways that modulate organelle properties upon stress conditions, and (3) study how these responses are integrated into and associated with other cellular regulatory networks. For these approaches, different model systems are employed, including human cells, baker’s yeast, Plasmodium, Chlamydomonas, Arabidopsis, Drosophila, and ciliates, complemented by reconstituted protein complexes and liposomes. On the basis of the primary causes that induce the stress conditions, we subdevided our research program into three conceptional subcategories, which are described below.

Subcategory A

Hyperosmolarity as primary driver of stress

This thematic complex deals with changing ionic conditions in the environment of cells and organisms, which can mean extreme stress (e.g. salt stress, drought stress). To this end, the subproject of Tanja Maritzen (Nanophysiologist) is investigating the intracellular transport of ion transporters in mammalian cells, the team of Ekkehard Neuhaus (Plant Physiology) is studying an exciting group of previously uncharacterized membrane membrane transporters in plants, and the laboratory of Sabine Filker (Molecular Ecology) is investigating specific membrane transporters that enable marine ciliates to live in saturated salt solution.

Subcategory B

Proteome imbalance as primary driver of stress

The teams of Johannes Herrmann (Cell Biology), Zuzana Storchová (Molecular Genetics) and Jan Pielage (Zoology & Neurobiology) form one thematic subgroup of the RTG 2737. The PhD projects integrated into this area analyze specific adaptations of cell organelles to changing global conditions such as high temperatures, high sugar concentrations, or genomic imbalances, which can result, for example, in disturbed protein folding and changes in metabolism. Yeast cells and the fruit fly Drosophila serve as model organisms.

Subcategory C

Redox and temperature changes as drivers of stress conditions

Our third thematic subgroup includes Marcel Deponte (Biochemistry), Michael Schroda (Molecular Biotechnology & Systems Biology), the bioinformatician Timo Mühlhaus (Computational Systems Biology), and the associated subproject leader Stefanie Müller-Schüssele (Molecular Botany). Here, fundamental insights are gained into how different stressors, e.g. heat, cold, redox state and salt trigger comparable stress routines and yet result in highly specific stress responses. The malaria pathogen Plasmodium falciparum, as well as unicellular green algae and various plants serve as model organisms.