Groningen Autophagy Group

Autophagy is an intracellular catabolic pathway conserved among all eukaryotes. Autophagy is crucial to maintain cellular homeostasis by sequestering and delivering unwanted proteins, complexes and organelles, to lysosomes for their degradation. This process thus participates to the adaptation to starvation, development, degradation of aberrant structures, lifespan extension, immunity and type II programmed cell death. Autophagy also plays a relevant role in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, chronic inflammatory, muscular and autoimmune diseases, and some malignancies. Crucially, it has also been shown that autophagy is an effective therapy to prevent or cure diseases, including specific types of tumors, muscular dystrophies and neurodegenerative disorders. The elucidation of the mechanism of autophagy is therefore vital to understand the regulation and contribution of this pathway in the different physiological and pathological situations, and to modulate it to the benefit of human health.

The functional and physiological roles of autophagy have also attracted the interest of several investigators at the University of Groningen. As a result, the Groningen Autophagy Group was created in 2016 with the goal of promoting the sharing of local expertise, reagents and eventually initiate common research lines.

[[Participating groups

  • Prof. dr. Harm Kampinga, Cell biology, UMCG (website)
  • Prof. Dr. Ida J. van der Klei, Molecular Cell Biology, University of Groningen (website)
  • Dr. Muriel Mari, Cell Biology, UMCG (website)
  • Prof. dr. Fulvio Reggiori, Cell Biology, UMCG (website)
  • Prof. dr. Kathrin Thedieck, Pediatrics, UMCG and Neurosciences, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Oldenburg University (website)
  • Prof. dr. Edo Vellenga, Hematology, UMCG (website)
  • Prof. dr. D.S. Verbeek, Genetics, UMCG (website)


[[Local Events

To be announced


[[International Events

  • 2017 EMBO conference on Autophagy: From molecular principles to human diseases, September 25-29, Dubrovnik, Croatia (website)
  • 2017 Buenos Aires Research Conference on Autophagy, October 23-25, Buenos Aires, Argentina (website)  
  • 2018 Gordon Research Conferences on Autophagy in Stress, Development & Disease, March 18-23, Il Ciocco, Lucca, Italy (website)
  • 2018 Keystone Symposium of Selective Autophagy, April 22-26, Kyoto, Japan (website




[[News and Publications


21 August 2017

Atg4 proteolytic activity can be inhibited by Atg1 phosphorylation. 
Sánchez-Wandelmer J, Kriegenburg F, Rohringer S, Schuschnig M, Gómez-Sánchez R, Zens B, Abreu S, Hardenberg R, Hollenstein D, Gao J, Ungermann C, Martens S, Kraft C, Reggiori F.
Nat Commun. 2017 Aug 18;8(1):295. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00302-3.


15 July 2017

EBV Infection Empowers Human B Cells for Autoimmunity: Role of Autophagy and Relevance to Multiple Sclerosis
Elena MorandiS. Anwar JagessarBert A. ‘t Hart and Bruno Gran

11 July 2017

Assays to Monitor Autophagy Progression in Cell Cultures.
by Orhon I, Reggiori F  (pdf)


04 May 2017

Conserved Atg8 recognition sites mediate Atg4 association with autophagosomal membranes and Atg8 deconjugation

by Susana Abreu , Franziska Kriegenburg,, Rubén Gómez-Sánchez, , Muriel Mari, Jana Sánchez-Wandelmer,, Mads Skytte Rasmussen, Rodrigo Soares Guimarães, Bettina Zens, Martina Schuschnig, Ralph Hardenberg, Matthias Peter, Terje Johansen , Claudine Kraft , Sascha Martens & Fulvio Reggiori

04 May 2017

H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN) grant awarded to a consortium of 15 European groups and SMEs coordinated by Prof. Dr. Fulvio Reggiori

The manipulation of autophagy has an enormous therapeutic potential to revolutionize the way we currently treat cancers, neurodegenerative disorders, inflammatory and infectious diseases. Despite the great promises made by pioneering medical studies, the still limited applied research on autophagy has hampered the translation of fundamental knowledge into clinical-grade products and improved healthcare. Applied autophagy research is essential to understand the roles of autophagy in the different physiological and pathological situations, to generate (disease) models and develop biomarkers and assays to assess its progress.

The goal of the ITN Driving next generation autophagy researchers towards translation (DRIVE) is to train young scientists to fill this gap. DRIVE will equip its ESRs with an unique combination of knowledge and experimental expertise that are brought together in this consortium by the different partners. The realization of their projects in applied autophagy research will benefit of an exceptional interdisciplinary platform integrating cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, chemistry and “omics” approaches. In addition, DRIVE ESRs will acquire competencies to exploit the results for the development of products and techniques of commercial value. These ESRs will also be trained in disseminating results and knowledge through modern channels of communication.

DRIVE will, therefore, create a new generation of autophagy researchers trained in both academic and industrial settings, with the skills required to accelerate the integration of fundamental knowledge into translation. They will also have increased career perspectives and will put Europe in the lead for the exploitation of autophagy therapy for the benefit of public healthcare.

July 2016

Lymphocryptovirus Infection of Nonhuman Primate B Cells Converts Destructive into Productive Processing of the Pathogenic CD8 T Cell Epitope in Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein
S. Anwar JagessarInge R. HoltmanSam HofmanElena MorandiNicole HeijmansJon D. LamanBruno GranBart W. FaberSander I. van KasterenBart J. L. Eggen and Bert A. ‘t Hart



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