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The Institute of Cell Biology

Welcome to the Institute of Cell Biology, at the Biocenter of Innsbruck Medical University. We study molecular mechanisms that control the organization and function of living cells. To address these fundamental questions, we use a combination of genetic model systems, state-of the-art microscopy and quantitative proteomics. Our division provides an international and dynamic research environment for Master & PhD students as well as PostDocs. We have numerous national and international collaborations with academic partners and biotech companies. We are embedded the international PhD program MCBO (Molecular Cell Biology and Oncology). We participate in and coordinate several EU projects.

Research Interest

Signal Transduction and Proteomics

Lukas Huber MAIN

We would like to understand how specific cell fate decisions are made by using a pool of very similar kinases within MAPK signalling pathways. We are especially interested in the role of scaffold proteins in organizing signal transduction complexes and study the spatial and temporal resolution of signaling mechanisms as well as their cytoplasmic effectors and target genes. The aim of our research is to understand the physiological function of scaffold complexes in MAPK signaling at the molecular level in cells and at the level of the entire organism. more...
Group Huber

Cell Differentiation

Ilja Vietor MAIN

The interplay between cell proliferation and differentiation controls not only development but also regeneration and therefore its regulatory mechanisms are of interest as therapeutic targets. Based on our studies we predict that the transcriptional co-repressor TPA inducible sequence 7 (TIS7) is one of the players affecting the cellular regeneration events. TIS7 inducible by the mitogen TPA or growth factors is differentially expressed in various polarized cell types. We have shown that TIS7 represses transcription in an HDAC-dependent manner. In the TIS7-regulated downstream target genes we have identified a common regulatory motif, a so-called transcription factor "module". TIS7 expression increases during the process of tissue regeneration following a challenge like muscle crush damage or intestinal resection. Our previous studies have shown that in TIS7 knockout mice the differentiation and fusion potential of myoblastss is impaired. more...
Group Vietor

Membrane Traffic and Signaling

David Teis MAIN

Cell growth and survival requires the selective degradation of cellular components. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms that coordinate the ubiquitin dependent and selective degradation membrane proteins with cell signaling. The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport, (ESCRT), are essential for the selective degradation of membrane proteins via the MVB pathway. Consequently, the ESCRT machinery regulates cellular signaling and is involved in diverse cellular and developmental processes. Not surprisingly, defects in the ESCRT pathway contribute to diseases ranging from neurodegeneration to cancer and HIV.
In particular we would like to understand:

  • how the ESCRT machinery deforms and scission membrane to generate multivesicular bodies (MVBs) and
  • how the degradation of membrane proteins contributes to cell growth and survival. more...
    Group Teis

Funding

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