Per Sunnerhagen


Department of Chemistry & Molecular
Visiting address
Medicinaregatan 7 B
41390 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 462
40530 Göteborg

About Per Sunnerhagen

Contact: Medicinaregatan 7B, room 7179


Posttranscriptional regulation under stress

A cell uses several mechanisms to deal with the stress imposed by a rapidly changing environment. It has to focus on expressing those particular proteins that enable it to survive the stress, and then quickly readapt to normal conditions. Regulation on the RNA level (”post-transcriptional regulation”) is both rapid and energy-efficient since it interferes before the energy-demanding process of protein synthesis. Under stress, the cell chooses certain mRNAs for making proteins (translation). We search for the sequence signals in mRNA that control this mechanism, and also the RNA-binding proteins that recognize these signals and direct mRNA to ribosomes for translation.

Stress granules (SGs) constitute a spectacular mechanism used by the cell under severe stress. These are large complexes of RNA and proteins. In SGs, mRNAs remain silent without being translated, in order to later be reactivated when the stress disappears and conditions improve. We identify the genes required for formation of SGs. We want to understand how formation of SGs is organized, and how the cellular signaling pathways control this pathway according to the type of stress. SGs can also affect aspects of cellular life, such as intracellular signaling and apoptosis, which makes SGs significant for cellular responses to cancer therapy.

Antimicrobial resistance

Pathogens resistant to treatment with antimicrobial agents pose a rising global threat. Antibiotics are being overused, misused, and spread into the environment. As a result, genes encoding proteins designated to inactivate antibiotics, as well as mutations in genes encoding target proteins for antibiotics, accumulate in microbial populations. In an international collaboration with partners in Brazil and Cambodia, we search for novel molecules active against drug-resistant Plasmodium, the malaria parasite. Here we use yeast genetic engineering tools to find bioactive molecules selective for the parasite’s proteins over the human counterparts.

Our group is member of the Centre for antibiotics resistance research at the University of Gothenburg, CARe. We aim at discovering novel antibacterial molecules from natural and synthetic sources. To identify their mode of action and possible synergies with existing antibiotics is a priority. We are also involved in a project to identify genetic factors determining transfer between bacterial cells of plasmids carrying antibiotics resistance genes.

Research group: Hanna Alalam (postdoctoral scientist), Suélen Fernandes Silva (postdoctoral scientist), Sunniva Sigurdardóttir (PhD student), Monika Šafhauzer (PhD student)

Publications ORCID

Publications Google Scholar:


Molecular genetics BIO906

Molecular biology BIO545

Eukaryotic molecular microbiology BIO440 (course examiner)

The cell and its hereditary material CEB210

Cell physiology CEB220

Drug development BIO523/KMG046