Gottfried Schatz Research Center | Molecular Biology and Biochemistry


Factors and Genes, Involved in Atherogenesis and Coronary Heart Diseases as Basis for Therapies and Treatment Strategies Epidemiology

Our group focuses on the identification and characterization of factors that are involved in the transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes of genes, involved in lipoprotein and cholesterol metabolism. One focus is the metabolism of Lp(a) one of the most atherogenic lipoproteins. Challenges in this topic are guided by the fact that virtually nothing is known on the physiological function, the metabolism and pharmacological intervention of Lp(a). There are also only few animal models or permanent cell cultures that may be used for studying these processes. Thus we also put some emphasis on developing permanent cell cultures that express apo(a) and that may be useful tools for addressing cellular events in apo(a) biosynthesis and Lp(a) catabolism. Another topic that interests us most is the cellular homeostasis of cholesterol. Although sufficient cholesterol is ingested by diets, almost any human cell may cover its own needs by de novo biosynthesis. Any excess of cholesterol is deleterious and leads to cell death, deposition in different organs such as atherosclerotic plaques and to vascular diseases followed by myocardial infarction and stroke. The fascinating aspects in studying cholesterol metabolism are, that the factors regulating cholesterol homeostasis differ quite significantly from organ to organ. This is true for the brain, the liver, the intestine, adipose tissue, macrophages, cholesterol in the blood circulation and more. Genes involved in cholesterol metabolism are therefore tightly regulated by nuclear receptors, transcription factors and as it turned out lately also by micro-RNA's. One of our PhD students focuses on the later regulatory mechanisms mediated by miRNA'S.  

Core Competences

Lipid metabolism, blood coagulation, immunochemistry, clinical chemical analytics, Cell biology, molecular biology, Cholesterol homeostasis

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