13th December 2023

Award-winning cell research

Christian Münch has been awarded the prestigious Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) for his research into a mechanism that the cell uses to operate its recycling system.

Münch works at the Institute of Biochemistry II at Goethe University Frankfurt. In his new research project, he is investigating a new type of degradation process with which the cell maintains a finely tuned balance for its constant synthesis of diverse substances and organelles. In what is known as autophagy, the cell encloses components that are no longer needed in membrane vesicles, within which these components are broken down.

However, the “autoxitus” degradation pathway discovered by Münch leads to the contents of these membrane vesicles being transported out of the cell. One of Münch’s research questions is whether the cell can use this to signal to its neighbors that it is in a state of stress, for example as a result of a viral infection or a neurodegenerative disease.
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