In eukaryotes, protein ubiquitination regulates virtually every cellular pathway, including the defense against invading pathogens. Intracellular bacteria respond by injecting into the host cell a diverse range of effector proteins that target ubiquitin and thus prevent bacterial clearance via autophagy. Our own work focusses on bacterial deubiquitinases, the most abundant and arguably most important class of ubiquitin-directed effectors. By studying the genomes of bacteria with a particularly broad host range, we discovered a new effector class that makes ubiquitin removal irreversible and has interesting applications as a tool to study general aspects of ubiquitination.
After obtaining a Ph D in biochemistry from the University of Cologne (1992), Kay Hofmann pursued his bioinformatical interests as a postdoc at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Lausanne (1994-98). Later, he joined the newly founded biotech company Memorec GmbH as head of bioinformatics (1998-2005) and continued this work at Miltenyi Biotec GmbH (2005-2012). Since 2012, he serves as professor for genetics and computational biology at the University of Cologne, where his group is studying the evolution of ubiquitin and cell death signaling pathways.
Moderation: Professor Dr. Michael Lammers