Mass Spectrometric Proteome and Metabolome Analytics
Focusing on vascular diseases, cardiovascular diseases (atherosclerosis and heart failure) and on liver metabolism we are analyzing metabolites, peptides and proteins. Our aim is to identify and quantify biomarkers. Thanks to state-of-the-art mass spectrometric methods like LC-MS/MS, LC-QTrap MS we can carry out our analyses in an effective and highly sensitive way.
By combining Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography (UHPLC) with Hybrid Quadrupol Linear Ion Traps Mass Spectrometry it is possible to analyze and identify serum or plasma down to an ng/l interval. Currently, we are investigating phytosterols, cholesterine precursors and oxidic sterols with respect to their cardiovascular risk. This research is part of big epidemiological studies and thereupon it is effected on a large scale. For instance these methods are used for phenotyping within the LIFE project. Additionally, our methods have been developed for measuring steroide hormones and arachidonic acid metabolites. Mass spectrometry is also applied in therapeutic drug monitoring (immunosuppressive drugs) and severe metabolic deficiencies of newborns.
After having fractioned the serum proteome by means of functional magnetic nanoparticles the specific proteome pattern (1000-10T D) is analyzed with the aid of MALDI-TOF. The characteristic mass spectrum of serum is closely associated with the phenotype. In recent studies we are intensively investigating the quantitative protein analysis by LC-MS/MS.
Queries: Uta Ceglarek, DSc
Genetics and Pathophysiology of Lipid Disorders and Atherosclerosis
Aim of our research is to gain a better knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of vascular and metabolic diseases in order to facilitate an early diagnosis and to prevent such diseases effectively. We are concentrating on research of genetic causes of atherosclerosis and metabolic disorders in particular. Our laboratory is fully equipped for biochemical and cellular biological research as well as for genetic studies in human populations dealing with transgenic material and using knockout models.
Queries:Ralph Burkhardt, PhD, MD
Molecular Regulation and Biological Impact of Hormones on Adipose Tissue
Endocrine regulation transactions are closely associated with a change of body weight and resulting metabolic disorders. Studying the diagnostic relevance and impact of adipose tissue and other hormones influencing body weight homeostasis on the development of diabetes mellitus, hypertony, atherosclerosis, metabolic disorders and on further diseases is a key aspect of our research. For this purpose methodical analytical, cell experimental, protein chemical and animal studies are carried out. Equally important, we cooperate with clinical facilities to do studies concerning humans.
Queries: Jürgen Kratzsch, DSc
Epigenetics and pathologic changes of cellular functions
Epigenetic mechanisms in breast cancer progression
Cancer, as well as other human disorders, has long been considered to result from the consequence of genetic mutations in key regulatory genes that reside in pathways controlling proliferation, cellular differentiation, DNA damage and repair. In the case of cancer, mutations are well documented to arise in key oncogenes and critically important tumor-suppressor genes as part of the disease progression process. In addition to more accepted, genetic mutations, a rapidly increasing body of evidence supports the general view that profound alterations also occur in ‘epigenes', whose products serve to define the ‘epigenetic landscape' of tumor cells. Aberrant changes in epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation, histone modifications and expression of micro RNAs play an important role in cancer and contribute to malignant transitions. In our work we investigate epigenetic mechanisms involved in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, a crucial step in breast cancer progression and formation of metastasis.
Epigenetics and Atherosclerosis
Changes in epigenetic mechanisms are also known to play an important role in atherosclerosis and lipid disorders. Analysis of the epigenome is a promising approach to study the influence of nutrition, environment and physical constitution on the development of atherosclerosis. Several risk factors, such as smoking, nutrition and stress are associated with changes in epigenetic mechanisms. Our studies aim to gain further insights in these mechanisms to improve prevention and treatment strategies in atherosclerosis therapy.
Queries: Sonja Stadler, DSc
Immunological Causes for Gastrointestinal Intolerances of Proteins
Coeliac Disease serves as an example for intolerance of nutritive proteins. Above all, we are studying epitope specificy of antibodies that are contained in patients suffering from coeliac disease. Basically, epitopes of autoantigenes, Gewebstransglutaminase and of gliadines (gluten, grain proteins triggering diseases) are of interest. Our studies are not only important for improving diagnosis, but they also give new insights into the pathogenesis of the disease. Subsequently, we are working on improving gluten analysis in so-called gluten-free food by means of modern immunological methods. In recent studies, the role of autoantibodies against Gewebstransglutaminase in liquor cerebrospinalis in different diseases is investigated.
Queries: Johannes Wolf, DSc