Our group focuses on different aspects of mitochondrial function. Especially physical and functional contacts of mitochondria to other organelles, mitochondrial morphogenesis and mitochondrial lipid homeostasis are in the center of our interest.
Our work is focused on peroxisomal biogenesis, which includes de novo formation of peroxisomes, peroxisomal protein import, and peroxisomal biogenesis disorders (PBD). Defects in peroxisomal biogenesis can be linked to mutations in so called PEX genes and cause a group of inherited diseases like rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata and the different forms of the Zellweger spectrum, which, in severe cases, can be lethal in the first year of life. We use human fibroblasts of PBD patients as model system or in vitro systems and try to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of peroxisomal biogenesis and dynamics by investigating protein interactions, structure, and function of different involved proteins.
- Peroxisome biogenesis
- Membrane protein import
- Matrix protein import
- Peroxisome maintenance and degradation
We study signal transduction in transgenic cell and mouse models by an approach that we call "in vivo biochemistry". To this end, we use state-of-the-art transgenic mouse technology and try to "watch" biochemical processes in real time in living cells, tissues and mice. Specifically, we are interested in the role of the signalling molecule cGMP in health and disease, with a current focus on cell growth and plasticity in the mammalian cardiovascular and nervous system. The projects involve analyses at the whole organism, cellular and molecular level.
- Cardiovascular and neuronal cGMP signaling in health and disease
- Visualization of cGMP and other signaling molecules with optical imaging (live cell and intravital imaging)
- Genetic inducible cell fate mapping and cell tracking in animal models of diseases
- Conditional gene targeting
- Plant cell and organ cultures.
- Cloning of genes and biochemical characterization of the enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of lignans to understand the evolutionary mechanisms underlying the chemical variety of lignan structures.
- Stereochemistry in lignan biosynthesis: molecular basis and evolution.
- Genetic manipulation of the lignan biosynthesis