Molecular Cancer Research Group

The Molecular Cancer Research Group performs basic research with a main focus on the molecular mechanims and roles of selective autophagy in cell signaling and disease mechanisms.

Following our discovery of the first mammalian selective autophagy receptors p62/SQSTM1 and NBR1 we have foccused our research on autophagy and particularly selective autophagy. Autophagy is an evolutionary conserved renovation process in cells, acting as a key regulator of cell survival or death in response to a variety of internal and external signals. Our work on the scaffold and signalling protein p62/SQSTM1 led to the discovery of autophagy receptors that specifically direct protein aggregates, organelles, nucleic acids and pathogens for degradation. Disabled autophagy plays a major role in human diseases including cancer, heart failure, metabolic, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. Specific protein-protein interactions and their functional consequences are being addressed in all projects using a set of biochemical-, cell biological- and immunological tools. Bioimaging and Proteomics are important in the research strategy of the group. Our research is funded by the Norwegian Cancer Society and the Norwegian Research Council in addition to the support we receive from UiT.

MCRG group picture


Head of research group
Terje Johansen


- New paper from our group on a novel rapid autophagic degradation response to amino acid starvation which is indpendent of mTOR and degrades the selective autophagy receptors by endosomal micorautophagy.

Paper in Journal of Cell Biology

- Paper in Nature on autophagy mediating degradation of nuclear lamina upon oncogene-induced senescence, with two members of our group as co-authors:

Paper in Nature

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