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News Archive

November 2022 | A Fulbrighter from our lab

Fulbright cover

We would like to congratulate our Ph.D. student Natalia on receiving the prestigious Fulbright Junior Research Award for the research stay at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

November 2022 | New preprint

Putative degron sites in filaggrin protein

Together with the group of Dr. Danuta Owsiak-Gutowska from the University of Gdańsk, we released a preprint where we shed some light on the degradation routes of filaggrin, an important protein in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis.

We show the involvement of the proteasome in filaggrin turnover and we describe filaggrin's potential degron sites and their effect on its mutated variants associated with the disease.

November 2022 | New article

Aldicarb sensitivity assay

We are pleased that our collaboration with Prof. Rafał Płoski from the Medical University of Warsaw and Prof. Maria Mazurkiewicz-Bełdzińska from the Medical University of Gdańsk has resulted in a joint publication where we link an uncharacterized neurological disease with an ultra-rare mutation in FEM1C ubiquitin ligase.
In our article, we present the first evidence from an animal model, Caenorhabditis elegans nematode, suggesting that a mutation in the conserved FEM1C Asp126 position causes a neurodevelopmental disorder in humans.

October 2022 | Our presence
at the Rare Disease Congres

Wojciech presenting at the Rare Disease Congres

We are very grateful for the invitation to the Rare Disease Congres in Cracow from the Jesteśmy Pod Ścianą Foundation, an NGO supporting patients with rare diseases. Our PI, Wojciech, and Ph.D. student, Natalia, presented our research on an uncharacterized neurodevelopmental disorder caused by an ultra-rare mutation in the FEM1C ubiquitin ligase and chorea-acanthocytosis. We hope that our research will contribute to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying these diseases.

October 2022 | Our presence
at the FNP conference

Wojciech at the FNP conference

Our PI, Wojciech, presented the poster about our study that hit the cover of the prestigious EMBO Journal at the 4th Interdisciplinary FNP Conference, organized by our funding agency - the Foundation for Polish Science. We are very grateful for the obtained funds which enabled our research and hope for more exciting discoveries.

September 2022 | Lecture at the 26th Science Festival in Warsaw

Science Festival in Warsaw

Like last year, we were delighted to participate in the Science Festival in Warsaw, a well-recognized science popularization event in Poland. We unveiled some of the secrets of Caenorhabditis elegans and discussed its role in aging research. Students also had an opportunity to test their knowledge as we prepared a quiz with prizes.

We hope that we passed some of our fascination with this tiny creature to our listeners, and our lecture provided insight into the complex mechanisms of aging and the role of Caenorhabditis elegans in studying them.

September 2022 | M.Sc. thesis defense

Konrad after his defence

Congratulations to our M.Sc. student Konrad for graduating with a Master’s degree in Biotechnology at the University of Warsaw!
Konrad wrote his thesis about the role of human CHIP ubiquitin ligase in nucleolar protein recovery after heat stress and co-authored our recent preprint. We are very proud of you and wish you many more successes!

September 2022 | New grant

Logo of the Ministry of Education and Science

We are delighted to announce that we were awarded the Social Responsibility of Science (Społeczna Odpowiedzialność Nauki) grant from the Ministry of Education and Science for developing an educational computer game about protein degradation processes in the cell.
As we believe that science should break out of its ivory tower and be widely accessible, the aim of the proposed computer game would be to explain how cells maintain protein homeostasis and why its disruption may lead to disease. Stay tuned!

September 2022 | Our presence
at the C. elegans conference

Worm Meeting Basel

Katarzyna, our Ph.D. student, gave a talk on our soon-to-be-released study on muscular exopheresis in Caenorhabditis elegans at the Basel Worm Meeting.

We are delighted that it gained a lot of attention of the worm community and cannot wait to publish it.

September 2022 | Best M.Sc. thesis in bioinformatics

Natalia's diploma

We would like to congratulate our Ph.D. student Natalia on receiving the prestigious 1st place in the contest organized by the Polish Bioinformatics Society for the best master’s thesis in bioinformatics defended in 2021 in Poland!

September 2022 | Our presence
at the EMBO conference

Natalia at the conference in Cavtat

Our recently released story about the interplay of CHIP - UFD-2 ubiquitin ligases and our web server degronopedia.com have been presented by our PI Wojciech and Ph.D. student Natalia at the EMBO Workshop Ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteins in health and disease in Cavtat, Croatia.

We received a lot of questions and positive feedback and hope to reunite with the ubiquitin community at the next meeting.

August 2022 | New article

Graphical abstract

More research on CHIP ubiquitin ligase, with our substantial contribution, has been published in Molecular Cell.
In this article, we show that CHIP exists as both a dimer, which promotes protein quality control, and a monomer, which plays a role in regulating aging. The conformation switch is controlled by CHIP auto-ubiquitination.

August 2022 | New article

Graphical abstract

Our work, in collaboration with the group of Prof. Rafal Ciosk from the University of Oslo, has been published in Nature Communications.

We are very glad that we could participate in the study, showing that ferritin-mediated iron detoxification promotes the survival of C. elegans and mouse neurons in the cold. 

The article can be found here

August 2022 | Our article on the cover of EMBO Journal

EMBO cover

Our article on the CHIP - UFD-2 ubiquitin ligase interplay and its role in regulating lipid metabolism has been featured on the cover of the EMBO Journal.

We imagine UFD-2 as a jazzman who promotes cooperation between CHIP and ubiquitin-coupling enzymes, doubling the activity of CHIP - a double bell saxophone releasing ubiquitin. Through this graphic, we also wanted to pay tribute to the famous Warsaw Jazz Jamboree, which we adore.

Our article can be found here.

July 2022 | Our presence at the
C. elegans conference

Poster at the European Worm Meeting

Our new follow-up study on muscular exopheresis in Caenorhabditis elegans has been presented at the European Worm Meeting in Vienna.
Katarzyna, our Ph.D. student, lifted the veil of secrecy by showing some of our exciting results, which we will soon release as a preprint.  

June 2022 | New article published              

Graphical abstract

Our article has just been published in the prestigious EMBO Journal. We are thrilled, as it will be featured on the cover of its August issue!

We focused on the CHIP ubiquitin ligase enzyme – a quality control factor responsible for the regulation and degradation of multiple protein targets, including those implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. We described a potential regulatory process enabling switching on/off activity of CHN-1, a worm analog of human CHIP, to maintain cellular homeostasis. We also identified a set of its new potential substrates, including AHCY‐1, a key enzyme involved in methylation - a process responsible e.g., for determining if particular DNA instructions would be processed or regulating proteins and lipids.

June 2022 | Degronopedia hit 1000 queries

conference photo

We are delighted that our recently released web server degronopedia.com has just passed 1000 queries!

Moreover, our PhD student Natalia gave two successful talks about it - at the EMBO Workshop Protein Termini in Bergen, Norway and virtually at the Dana-Farber Seminar Series. We are looking forward to introduce some new features soon, so stay tuned!

May 2022 | New preprint


We published a preprint where we introduce DEGRONOPEDIA - a web server allowing for degron screening.
Degrons are short linear motifs critical for selective protein degradation. Our tool provides complex degron information (i.a. nearby residues that may be ubiquitinated, post-translational modifications, occurrence within a disorder region) and allows for Machine Learning predictions of protein termini stability.

DEGRONOPEDIA can be freely accessed at degronopedia.com 

May 2022 | Our presence at two major conferences

Travel grant awardees

Our study on CHIP/UFD-2 molecular cooperation has been presented at the Ubiquitin & Friends Symposium in Vienna and GRK2243 Symposium in Würzburg by our talented Ph.D. students - Aniruddha Das and Pankaj Thapa.
We are very pleased how warmly it was received by the scientific community as expressed by the Travel Grant awarded to Aniruddha for one of the best presented posters. 

Photo: @SFB_TPDvienna, Twitter

May 2022 | New preprint

CHIP scheme

We released a preprint where we describe the engagement of the ubiquitin ligase CHIP by the nucleolus in response to proteotoxic stress.
These observations may be relevant in elucidating the mechanisms of nucleolar proteostasis and in the biology of cancer, whose development is influenced by nucleolar stress response pathways. Our study provides a solid basis for further exploring CHIP function in the nucleolus.

April 2022 | New preprint

Omega bends plot

We released a preprint describing the first case of neurodevelopmental disorder in a patient with a de novo missense variant in a degron-binding pocket of ubiquitin ligase FEM1C. We used Caenorhabditis elegans as a model of the disease; mutant worms, similarly to the patient, also developed locomotion impairments.

This study was carried out in collaboration with the group of Prof. Rafał Płoski from the Medical University of Warsaw. We are looking forward to further fruitful collaborative research on possible mechanisms of pathogenicity underlying this mutation.

February 2022 | New grant

NCN logo

We are very pleased to inform that PI of our group - Wojciech Pokrzywa has obtained the five-year SONATA-BIS grant from the National Science Centre.

In the next years we will focus on mechanisms of protein adaptation to escape premature degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. We are very excited for this new avenue of research!

January 2022 | New preprint

Preprint figure

In our recent preprint, we show that defects in red pulp macrophages - cells responsible for maintaining blood homeostasis - occur early in aging and disrupt iron turnover, contributing to elderly anemia.

November 2021 | New grants

PRELUDIUM grant awardees

We are delighted to announce that two of our Ph.D. students received their own PRELUDIUM grants from the National Science Centre (NCN).

Natalia Szulc will study how the cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase complexes avoid premature degradation, and Pankaj Thapa will investigate the molecular mechanism of the activity switch of the ubiquitin ligase CHIP.

September 2021 | Lecture at the 25th Science Festival in Warsaw

Science Festival 2021

We were honored to participate in the 25th Science Festival in Warsaw, one of the most significant popular science events in Poland. High school students warmly received our presentation on the secrets of Caenorhabditis elegans and its important role in aging research.
We hope that this tiny creature intrigued our listeners, and our lecture provided an overview of the current state of knowledge on mechanisms of aging.

August 2021 | Our research on the cover of EMBO reports

August 2021 EMBO reports cover

Our research on muscular exopheresis in Caenorhabditis elegans is featured as a cover of the August issue of EMBO Reports!
Here we show that exophers are not only a storage compartment for cellular waste, but that muscular exopheresis represents a previously uncharacterized nutrient management program associated with nourishing the next generation of progeny. 

August 2021 | New preprint

Scheme of role of UFD-2/CHN-1 complex in lipid synthesis

What drives the prominent quality control ubiquitin ligase CHIP? Our new preprint on bioRxiv describes the mechanism by which CHIP is activated by another ubiquitin ligase, UFD-2, which enables the regulation of proteostasis and lipid metabolism.

Our results define the mechanism of synergistic cooperation of CHIP and UFD-2, which promotes structural gain of function in CHIP and regulates S-adenosylhomocysteinase, an enzyme crucial for cellular methylation and phosphatidylcholine synthesis.

July 2021 | New article

Scheme of mechanical stress protection system

During critical moments like differentiation, adhesion, and migration cells use sophisticated mechanisms that protect them from mechanical stress. Moreover, these mechanisms are also essential for maintaining tissues such as skeletal muscle, heart, and kidney as well as the immune system.
Here you can find our article, where we discuss recent advances in our understanding of mechanical stress protection.

July 2021 | Extension of financing

Research unit FOR 2743 logo

The research unit FOR 2743 integrates mechanobiology and proteostasis research to elucidate how cells and tissues cope with force-induced protein unfolding. We identified mechano-protective proteostasis factors and signalling networks that regulate responses to mechanical stress.
Thanks to the extended funding we will further decipher principles of mechanical stress protection under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.

You can find more information here and here

March 2021 | New article

Scheme of UBB+1 level on cell fitness

Our article on the different cellular effects of the intriguing mutant ubiquitin protein UBB+1 was published in Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences.
You can read here about how UBB+1 may extend lifespan, while on the other hand also leads to aggregation of toxic proteins.

January 2021 | NCN GRIEG grant opened 

NCN and Norway grants logos

Project Cellular adaptation to cold, funded by the NCN GRIEG grant & the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014 – 2021 for 1.499.998 EUR was opened.

We cannot wait to start the studies, together with our partner from the University of Oslo Prof. Rafał Ciosk, on how Caenorhabditis elegans can resist low temperature.

December 2020 | Extension of financing

EMBO logo

We received extension of the EMBO Installation Grant for the next 2 years!


Laboratory of Protein Metabolism

International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw

4 Ks. Trojdena Street

02-109 Warsaw, Poland 

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