Molecular Disease Mechanisms


The communication between cells involves extracellular messengers such as growth factors and cytokines. At the surface of target cells, the signal transported by these messengers is relayed to intracellular molecules. The interplay and modification of these will finally lead to the cellular response, part of which often consists in the production of new extracellular messengers and intracellular signalling molecules.

Disturbance and imbalance of the cellular communication and signalling mechanisms are major causes for disease development. For example, mutations in signalling proteins can permanently abrogate, impair or enhance their function/activity and can thereby induce or contribute to the development of cancers. The investigation of the effects of mutations on protein structure and function has helped researchers to understand the molecular basis of disease. Our group is interested in molecular mechanisms that govern cellular communication and signalling in the healthy organism as well as in pathological conditions such as inflammation and cancer. Understanding these cellular events is a prerequisite for the development of targeted therapeutic intervention. The investigation of the complex interplay between activated signalling molecules, induced genes and cellular metabolites requires the use and combination of the most advanced techniques of modern biology as well as the bioinformatic integration of the obtained data.