Moelcular Biology II

Molecular Biology II

Prof. Dr. Shirley Knauer

Research Overview

Our research interests focus on molecular and translational clinical oncology as well as on the biomedical transfer of the compiled results. They aim on a detailed understanding of the regulation of nucleo-cytoplasmic transport processes, their impact on malignant transformation in cancer development, the discovery of novel therapeutic targets as well as the establishment of novel drug-screening assays.

Current projects concentrate on the molecular and pathophysiological function of the "Inhibitor of Apoptosis" protein Survivin, which is attributed a decisive role in the development of cancer and other diseases.

Using corroborating experimental approaches including microinjection experiments, flourescence as well as confocal microscopy, we could demonstrate that Survivin is actively exported from the cell nucleus. This transport process was not only a prerequisite for protection of cancer cells against radio- and chemotherapy by Survivin, but also plays a causal role in the treatment response of cancer patients. Therefore, targeted interference with the nuclear export of survivin by molecular decoys seems to be a highly promising innovative strategy to impede growth and therapy resistance of cancer cells. Additionally, the detailed functional characterisation of the anti-apoptotic protein Survivin and its cellular transport activity led to novel groundbreaking insights concerning the essential involvement of transport receptors in mitotic processes.