Ruprecht-Karls-Universitšt Heidelberg

Prof. Bernd Bukau

ZMBH, Im Neuenheimer Feld 282
69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Tel.: + 49-6221 54 6795
Fax.: +49-6221 54 5894

SFB 1036 managing office /
SFB 1036 - Geschäftsstelle

Veronika Helm
ZMBH, Im Neuenheimer Feld 282
69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Tel.: + 49-6221 54 8102

Welcome to the SFB 1036


As a consequence of the intrinsic biochemical fragility of molecules and limited robustness and precision of cellular processes, cells must routinely deal with faulty or damaged molecules and perturbations of cell physiology. Damage and erroneous processes may be tolerable or even result in some advantage eventually contributing to evolutionary diversification, but may otherwise have catastrophic consequences. Some types of damage can become encoded in the genome, and manifest as inherited or acquired diseases. Others may perturb cellular homeostasis and result in malfunction, degeneration and ageing of cells and organisms. Damage and errors are aggravated by a multitude of internal and environmental insults (stresses). Consequently, all cells, from bacteria to human, have developed a powerful network of systems, acting at multiple levels on macromolecules, cellular compartments, whole cells and entire organs, to minimize and reverse the damage that would ensue if mistakes and abnormal molecules went by unmonitored and uncorrected. The medical dimension of surveillance and damage response pathways becomes apparent when these pathways lose effective function, since this usually results in disease.

The long-term goal of this Collaborative Research Center (Sonderforschungsbereich, SFB) entitled "Cellular surveillance and damage control" is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms driving and coordinating damage control systems. In 18 research projects (TP) and 2 service projects (Z) the question of how the quality of gene function is monitored and how damage signals are integrated to elicit appropriate responses will be analyzed. This should provide a comprehensive understanding of how cells react to damage and establish and maintain homeostasis. Towards this goal the SFB will investigate:

Safeguarding systems that avert potential errors and damage by ensuring proper performance of cellular processes such as DNA replication, translation, and those underpinning homeostatic environments (e.g. iron homeostasis or redox state).

Damage repair systems which detect damaged or abnormal macromolecules (DNA, RNA, proteins) and provide repair and/or regulated elimination.

Stress response pathways that increase cellular capacity to cope with specific or global stress (e.g. heat shock, oxidative stress, protein overload in the endoplasmic reticulum). With the planned research on surveillance mechanisms and damage responses we are aiming at providing a comprehensive understanding of how cells react to damage and establish and maintain homeostasis.

News & Seminars

May 7, 2020
4 p.m.

Matthias Feige (TUM, Cellular Protein Biochemistry, Munich, Germany)
"Cellular Protein Folding: From Insight to Engineering"
ZMBH seminar room 001 | INF 282 (pdf)

PhD Core Courses
February 10-14, 2020
Teaching Module
Modern Quantitative Methods in Mass Spectrometry-based Proteomics (Roman Sakson, TP Z1)
February 17-21, 2020
Teaching Module
Modern Quantitative Methods in Mass Spectrometry-based Proteomics (Roman Sakson, TP Z1)
March 30 - April 3, 2020
Teaching Module
Analyzing Enzyme Kinetics 1/2020 (Matthias Mayer, TP 09)
March 30 - April 3, 2020
Teaching Module
Protein analysis by mass spectrometry 1/2020 (Matthias Mayer, TP 09)
April 6-10, 2020 Teaching Module
Monitoring conformational changes within proteins by site-specific incorporation of fluorophors (Axel Mogk, TP 08)
April 20-24, 2020 Protein crystallization & introduction to protein crystallography (Irmgard Sinning, TP 22)

Dr. Carmen Nussbaum-Krammer (TP20) and Prof. Bernd Bukau (TP08) are hosting Professor Cindy Voisine, visiting from Northeastern Illinois University. Dr. Voisine (left) discusses findings with Dr. Nussbaum-Krammer (centre) and her Master's student Alexander Früh (right).
Carmen, Gamze, Cindy and Jessica (left to right) having fun at Bernd´s birthday party by playing their projects.

Überlebensstrategien: Heidelberger Lebenswissenschaften im Gespräch

Überlebensstrategien ist ein gemeinsames Projekt der lebenswissenschaftlichen Sonderforschungsbereiche der Universität Heidelberg mit der Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung (RNZ). Die Redakteure der Stadtredaktion Heidelberg begleiten jeweils eine Veranstaltung mit ihren persönlichen Fragen zu den vorgestellten Forschungsthemen, den beteiligten Wissenschaftlern und den Methoden. Dieses Format der Moderation soll eine lebendige Brücke zum Publikum bilden, das in den Dialog einbezogen wird. In zwanglosem Rahmen im Karlstorbahnhof und mit musikalischer Begleitung durch Mitglieder des Collegium Musicum stellen die Sonderforschungs-bereiche ihre Fragestellungen und langfristigen Ziele vor.

Upcoming talks in the seminar series "Überlebensstrategien" held at Karlstorbahnhof, Club K,
Am Karlstor 1, 69117 Heidelberg at 7.30 pm

Donnerstag, 13.02.2020

SFB /CRC 1324 - Mechanisms and Functions of Wnt Signaling
Sprecher: Thomas Holstein

Donnerstag, 15.05.2020

SFB 1118 - Reaktive Metabolite als Ursache diabetischer Folgeschäden
Sprecherin: Verena Peters

During the 2nd funding period, three SFB project leaders organized EMBO events supported by the SFB 1036

EMBO Conference on "Ubiquitin and SUMO: From molecular mechanisms to system-wide responses" September 2017, organized by Frauke Melchior

EMBO Workshop on "Protein quality control: From mechanisms to disease" May 2019, organized by Bernd Bukau

EMBO Workshop on "The ubiquitin system: Biology, mechanisms and roles in disease" September 2019, organized by Claudio Joazeiro

Photographs of Events

photos from the kick-off meeting 2013 photos from the PhD and PostDoc retreat 2013
photos from the SFB 1036 retreat at Flehingen Castle, 2014 Impressions of the SFB Congress in November 2014
group photo of the SFB members at retreat in Bad Wimpfen, October 7/8, 2015 End of year party 2015 & inauguration seminars by
Claudio Joazeiro and H. Kaessmann
Kick-off meeting 2016
The SFB members at the retreat in Leinsweiler, October 19/20, 2017
SFB 1036 Minisymposium, December 18, 2018
SFB retreat on May 22/23, 2019
Poster session organized by the PhD students and Postdocs on September 25, 2019

Recent publications

Huber, M., Bienvenut, W.V., Linster, E., Stephan, I., Armbruster, L., Sticht, C., Layer, D., Lapouge, K., Meinnel, T., Sinning, I., Giglione, C., Hell, R. & Wirtz, M. N-terminal acetylation by NatB affects growth and abiotic stress responses in Arabidopsis (2019) Plant Physiol. (in press).

Ho, C.-T., Grousl, T., Shatz, O., Jawed, A., Rutger-Herreros, C., Semmelink, M., Zahn, R., Richter, K., Bukau, B., Mogk, A. Cellular sequestrases maintain basal Hsp70 capacity ensuring balanced proteostasis. (2019) Nature Commun. 10:4851. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12868-1. (Abstract).

Aichem, A., Sailer, C., Ryu, S., Catone, N., Stankovic-Valentin, N., Schmidtke, G., Melchior, F., Stengel, F., and Groettrup, M. (2019) The ubiquitin-like modifier FAT10 interferes with SUMO activation. Nat. Commun. 10:4452. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12430-z. (Abstract).

Dederer, V., Khmelinskii, A., Huhn, A.G., Okreglak, V., Knop, M., Lemberg, M.K. (2019) Cooperation of mitochondrial and ER factors in quality control of tail-anchored proteins. Elife pii: e45506. doi: 10.7554/eLife.45506, Epub ahead of print (Abstract).

Wentink, A., Nussbaum-Krammer, C., Bukau, B. (2019) Modulation of Amyloid States by Molecular Chaperones. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. pii: a033969. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a033969, Epub ahead of print (Abstract).

Arab, K., Karaulanov, E., Musheev, M., Trnka, P., Schäfer, A., Grummt, I., Christof Niehrs, C. (2019) GADD45A binds R-loops and recruits TET1 to CpG island promoters. Nat. Genet. doi: 10.1038/s41588-018-0306-6, Epub ahead of print (Abstract).

Sentürk Cetin, N., Kuo, C.C., Ribarska, T., Li, R., Costa, I.G., Grummt, I. (2019) Isolation and genome-wide characterization of cellular DNA:RNA triplex structures. Nucleic Acids Res. 20, pii , doi: 10.1093/nar/gky1305, Epub ahead of print (Abstract).

Altmeyer, M. (2019) Cells take a break when they are TIARed. EMBO reports 20, e47403. DOI 10.15252/embr.201847403 (Abstract).

The SFB 1036 is funded by the