Protein Recognition and Degradation

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Junior Research Group "Protein Recognition and Degradation"
Dr. Nico Dissmeyer at the awarding ot the Hugo-Junkers-Price 2015 (Photo: Sebastian Stolze)

Proteins belong to the fundamental equipment of each organism’s cell and play crucial roles in numerous biochemical and cell biological contexts. They are only able to function properly if their abundance and shape are correct. Protein stability is a major determinant of their function, thus it is vital to know mechanisms of protein modification and degradation and how intracellular protein abundance is controlled. Protein quality control is necessary to respond to endogenous physiological cues and to environmentally harsh conditions. Errors in these pathways may lead to improper responses to biotic and abiotic stress in plants such as drought, salinity, extreme temperatures, pathogen infection and chemicals. Abiotic stress is considered to be the primary cause for adverse protein folding in plants and leads to a reduction of the average yields for major crop plants by more than 50% worldwide. Therefore, it represents a serious threat to agriculture and also the environment.

Focus of our research is the so-called N-end rule pathway. In plants, only little is known about its biological function, although mutations adversely influence cell proliferation, plant development and ageing, organ growth, and seed germination (reviewed in Dissmeyer et al., New Phytol 2017). In our lab, we set out to identify and characterize enzymatic components of this pathway both on biochemical and physiological level and assign their physiological substrates.

For further information, please consult the lab's official home page at