What we do
Proteins are central to any living organism. To protect cells from dysfunctional and toxic, disease-causing proteins formed by aberrant translation, eukaryotic co-translational quality control pathways detect translation defects and remove aberrant protein products, together with associated faulty mRNA blueprints and sometimes faulty ribosomal components. Much is still unknown about the molecular mechanisms underlying co-translational quality control, and how these interact with other cellular machineries and with organismal health and life cycle. These are research objects in my group. We use sequencing-based methods, most prominently UV crosslinking and analysis of cDNA (CRAC), to study RNA-protein interactions, translation and RNA modification in the context of co-translational quality control. These techniques provide a unique toolbox to approach our key questions:
1: Which molecular interactions underlie co-translational quality control triggering and how are different targets distinguished?
2: How does co-translational quality control interact with cellular stress responses, translation regulation and RNA modification?
3: How does co-translational quality control work in neurons and does it change with ageing?
With our RNA-centred research, we want to make fundamental contributions to the understanding of co-translational quality control and its links to age-related neurodegenerative diseases, to ultimately inform efforts to cure, prevent or delay the onset of such diseases.