The Schaetzl lab studies the molecular biology of prion infections and uses the gained understanding for delineating novel targets for intervention. We have focused our attempts on two main strategies.
- One is the endogenous cellular clearance capacity for prions, which we want to induce to a level that can halt prion infection.
- The other one is to target the normal prion protein isoform, expression of which is a prerequisite for prion conversion and execution of neurodegeneration.
One of our central hypotheses is that prion clearance can be enhanced by induction of autophagy, a basic cellular program for degradation and recycling. Another pathway we focus on is quality control mechanisms in the secretory pathway which modulate PrP maturation and PrPSc formation.