Autophagy is a highly conserved mechanism in eukaryotes to degrade cellular components. Autophagy plays an important role both in the baseline turnover of intracellular proteins and organelles, as well as in the production of amino acids under starvation conditions. Its contribution to protein degradation is similar to that of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Disorders in the regulation of autophagy can cause various diseases. Furthermore, autophagy plays an important role in the presentation of antigens and the reduction of invasive pathogens. However, several viruses have evolved strategies to escape the degradation by autophagy or even to abuse parts of the autophagy machinery for their own benefit.
We characterize different viral and cellular proteins that have an effect on autophagy as well as their interactions. To do so, we use divers biophysical methods like Surface Plasmon Resonance and NMR-Spectroscopy.