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
Molecular mechanisms linking obesity and breast cancer progression
Breast cancer is by far the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women worldwide. While many factors play a role in the formation of breast cancer (e.g. genetic disposition, smoking), obesity is now recognised as one of most important risk factors for this type of cancer, especially in post-menopausal woman. Overweight and the excess accumulation of adipose tissue not only lead to an increased incidence of breast cancer but also add to a higher mortality rate due to poor prognosis, larger tumor size and high tumor grade. In addition, a growing number of studies indicates that adipocytes associated with tumors are involved in supporting tumor progression by promoting an inflammatory and proliferatory microenvironment.
Despite an increasing body of evidence underlining the important role of adipose tissue for growth and survival of breast tumors, very little is known about the molecular mechanisms linking adipocytes and breast cancer progression. To investigate potential molecular changes in breast cancer cells induced by co-existing adipocytes we use different co-culture systems of breast cancer cells and adipose tissues.
The goal of our study is a comprehensive characterization of the interacting cell types, applying techniques such as genome-wide gene expression studies, migration and invasion assays, cell imaging and mass spectrometry.
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