Manfred Jung (1966) was educated at the Universities of Marburg, Ottawa and Münster (Ph.D. with Prof. Dr. Wolfang Hanefeld, postdoctoral studies with Prof. Dr. Tony Durst, habilitation association with Prof. Dr. Bernard Unterhalt). He is currently Professor for Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Freiburg. He has published over 75 papers, holds two patents and has received the joint Medicinal Chemistry Award of the Medicinal Chemistry groups of the German Pharmaceutical Society and German Chemical Society. His research focus is Chemical Epigenetics. The group is active in the synthesis of inhibitors of epigenetically active enzymes, both as biological tools and potential drugs. Another strong methodological focus is the development of screening assays for enzymes and their application in the search for new epigenetic modulators.
Epigenetics is defined as heritable changes in the phenotype without changes in the genetic code. The development of a complex organism requires that only a selected number of genes from the whole genome is expressed according to the cell type. The maintenance of such expression profiles upon cell division is governed by epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation and histone modifications. Epigenetic regulation can be very tight over a lifetime but might ondethe other hand be subject to environmental factors. Such “epimutations”, as for an example the silencing of a tumor suppressor gene, may be the reason for diseases such as cancer but also neurodegenerative disordes. We are targeting histone modifying enzymes with the synthesis of inhibitors of histone acetyltransferases (HATs), histone deacetylases (HDACs), histone methyltransferases and demethylases in order to provide chemical tools which aid in the biological investigation of epigenetic phenomena and potential new drugs. For the analysis of our inhibitors we develop in vitro screening assays and also apply these assays to the investigation of cellular material and tissue samples from animal and men. These assays are also used in screening approaches in the identification of new classes of inhibitors which then in turn can be optimized by synthesis. For example, we have identified new arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) inhibitors that target hormone dependent transcription but also inhibit methylation of non-histone protein targets. A special focus that extends outside epigenetic enzymes are NAD+ dependent ribosyltransferases and deacetylases. Major current funding on epigenetic targets comes from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Wilhelm Sander-Stiftung, Deutsche Krebshilfe and the EU (FP7-Health “SetTReND”).
• S. Pagans, A. Pedal, B. J. North, K. Kaehlcke, B. L. Marshall, A. Dorr, C. Hetzer-Egger, P. Henklein, R. Frye, M. W. McBurney, H. Hruby, M. Jung, E. Verdin, M. Ott; PloS Biology. 2005, 3, e41.
• A. Spannhoff, R. Heinke, I. Bauer, P. Trojer, E. Metzger, R. Gust, R. Schüle, G. Brosch, W. Sippl, M. Jung; J. Med. Chem. 2007, 50, 2319-2325.
• S. Schäfer, L. Saunders, S. Schlimme, V. Valkov, J. M. Wagner, F. Kratz, W. Sippl, E. Verdin, M. Jung; ChemMedChem. 2009, 4, 283-290.
Information and contact
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Chemical Epigenetics Group
79104 Freiburg Germany