Visual Universitätsmedizin Mainz

Christian Behl, PhD


Professor of Pathobiochemistry

Chair and Director of the Institute of Pathobiochemistry
University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

Vice Speaker of the CRC1177 on Selective Autophagy

Editor-in-Chief Autophagy Section, Cells


The lab of Christian Behl has a long-standing interest in neurodegenerative disease with a focus on autophagy, proteostasis and oxidative stress. The continuing goal of this research is to uncover molecular maintenance processes that allow neurons to survive long-term challenges that occur during aging and neurodegeneration. One key process enabling cells to clear aggregation-prone disease proteins that accumulate over time is BAG3-mediated selective macroautophagy, an autophagic/lysosomal degradation process that is highly regulated by several co-factors and at a post-translational level. Moreover, this pathway appears to be involved in long-term adaptation of neuronal cells to redox stress. Further, employing C. elegans as an in vivo model, the Behl group identifies novel regulators of autophagy with a focus of genes/proteins linked to neuronal disease, such as small Rab GTPases and RABGAPs.

Research Group Behl

Selected workshop-related publications

Enhanced autophagic-lysosomal activity and increased BAG3-mediated selective macroautophagy as adaptive response of neuronal cells to chronic oxidative stress.
Redox Biology 24:101181. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2019.101181 Chakraborty D, Felzen V, Hiebel C, Stürner E, Perumal N, Manicam C, Grus F, Wolfrum U, Behl C (2019).

Sigma-1 receptor activation induces autophagy and increases proteostasis capacity in vitro and in vivo.
Cells 8(3). pii: E211. Christ M, Huesmann H, Nagel H, Kern A, Behl C (2019).

RAB3GAP1 and RAB3GAP2 modulate basal and rapamycin-induced autophagy.
Autophagy 10:2297-309. Spang N, Feldmann A, Huesmann H, Bekbulat F, Schmitt V, Hiebel C, Koziollek-Drechsler I, Clement AM, Moosmann B, Jung J, Behrends C, Dikic I, Kern A, Behl C (2017).

BAG3 mediates chaperone-based aggresome-targeting and selective autophagy of misfolded proteins.
EMBO Reports 12(2):149-56. Gamerdinger M, Kaya AM, Wolfrum U, Clement AM, Behl C (2011).

Protein quality control during aging involves recruitment of the macroautophagy pathway by BAG3.
EMBO Journal 28, 889-901. Gamerdinger M, Hajieva P, Kaya AM, Wolfrum U, Hartl U, Behl C (2008).



Selected Reviews

Amyloid in Alzheimer's Disease: Guilty Beyond Reasonable Doubt?
Trends Pharmacol Sci. 38(10):849-851. Behl C (2017).

Breaking BAG: The Co-Chaperone BAG3 in Health and Disease.
Trends Pharmacol Sci. 37:672-88. Behl C (2016).