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Regulation of stress-induced mitochondrial chaperones

Kathrin Ulrich
Institute of Biochemistry
Center of Molecular Biosciences, CoMB
University of Cologne

Phone: +49 - 221 470 76825
Email: kathrin.ulrich@uni-koeln.de

For more information and contact, please visit the ULRICH LAB



Various cell stresses can cause ATP depletion, protein unfolding and potentially toxic protein aggregation, which has been associated with the onset and progression of diseases and premature aging. The drop in ATP level poses a particular challenge to the cell, which usually relies on ATP-dependent systems to counteract protein unfolding. To cope with the high risk of protein aggregation under these conditions, cells activate highly abundant proteins to function as ATP-independent chaperones which bind unfolding proteins. My lab studies the cellular function and regulatory mechanisms of stress-induced chaperones, which are widespread across all domains of life and serve as a first line of defense against unfolding stresses. However, very little is known about stress-induced chaperones in mitochondria, although these organelles are constantly exposed to proteotoxic stress, associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of cellular integrity. My lab will explore the protein folding capacity of the mitochondrial matrix upon ATP-depleting stress conditions and study the role of a potential stress-sensing chaperones in protecting the mitochondrial proteome against stress-induced protein unfolding. 


Project-related publications

Ulrich, K. (2023) Redox-regulated chaperones in cell stress responses. Biochem Soc Trans, 51(3):1169-1177. DOI: 10.1042/BST20221304

Ulrich, K., Farkas, A., Chan, O., Katamanin, O., Schwappach, B., and Jakob, U. (2022) From guide to guard – Activation mechanism of the stress-sensing chaperone Get3. Mol Cell, 82: 1-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2022.06.015.

Currier, R. B.*, Ulrich, K.*, Leroux, A. E.*, Dirdjaja, N., Deambrosi, M., Bonilla, M., Ahmed, Y. L., Adrian, L., Antelmann, H., Jakob, U., Comini, M. A., and Krauth-Siegel, R. L. (2019) An essential thioredoxin-type protein of Trypanosoma brucei acts as redox-regulated mitochondrial chaperone. PLoS Pathog, 15(9):e1008065. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008065, *Shared first authors