Profile of the Department

Our department is studying the protein damage in cells and tissues. Such protein damage is caused by free radicals and oxidants, by-products of cellular metabolism and increasingly formed during pathological changes leading to oxidative stress. High levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia), elevated blood pressure (hypertonia) and inflammation are such pathological conditions.

Under normal conditions in a functioning cell or in a tissue such modified proteins are degraded and, therefore, detoxified, while in changing metabolic or pathological conditions or in advanced age it possible that the degradation of modified proteins is insufficient. To study the degradation of oxidized proteins we are investigating the intracellular proteolytic systems. It is well established that aged cells are less able to react on stress. Inadequate degradation of oxidized proteins occurs and cells are accumulating damaged proteins such as lipofuscin, an aging pigment. This in turn can affect the function of cells.

How nutrition might influence the formation or degradation of damaged proteins is a central research topic of our department. The effects of macronutrients, especially proteins, as well as of micronutrients, especially vitamins, on the protein homeostasis of aging cells are also investigated. In translational approaches, we try to identify reliable biomarkers enabling the assessment of redox status and protein homeostasis.




Organisationally Associated Research Groups