A clump of breast cancer cells. The blue cells are actively growing, whereas the yellow ones are in the process of dying by programmed cell death (apoptosis). IonTrap MS4 fragmentation pathway for identification of the hypermodified nucleoside N6-methyl-N6-threonyl-carbamoyladenosine.
(Colour-enhanced scanning electron micrograph, copyright by D. McCarthy and A. Cavanagh).
1) Regulation of plant biochemical pathways to investigate central metabolism, biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, signalling and stress response
Research projects with different woody (poplar, Douglas fir) and herbaceous (Arabidopsis) model plants, carried out at the CF Metabolomics, focus on questions of molecular physiology, plant physiology and ecophysiology. In particular, physiological response to abiotic stress (drought, flooding, cold) is studied by monitoring changes in single biomarkers and/or complex metabolite patterns. Gained insights into metabolic functioning help to tackle urgent challenges like efficient biomass production for energetic use, or tree and crop response to climate change.
- Collaboration partners: Prof. Dr. H. Rennenberg, Prof. Dr. Bauhus, PD Dr. J. Kreuzwieser, Prof. Dr. A. Gessler, Prof. Dr. G. Neuhaus
2) Biosynthesis and analysis of secondary metabolites from different bacterial strains as new therapeutic agents by „combinatorial biosynthesis”
Combinatorial biosynthesis is a procedure of molecular biology in which the combination of biosynthetical genes of different origins results in the formation of new natural products. The project is focused on metabolites with antibiotic activity isolated from actinomycetes or streptomyces which contains partially sugar moieties.
- Collaboration partners: Prof. Dr. A. Bechthold, Prof. Dr. L. Heide, PD Dr. B. Gust
3) Intercellular communication by means of small signal metabolites synchronizes gene expression and coordinates functions among bacteria
This population density-dependent regulation is known as quorum sensing. Quorum sensing is frequently mediated by acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) autoinducers. The collaboration with the CF Metabolomics concentrates in a metabolic profiling of different AHLs as response to adaptation, competition, and establishment of symbiosis.
- Collaboration partner: Prof. Dr. A. Becker
4) Metabolomics to unravel molecular mechanisms involved in Parkinson's disease
In a high-throughput metabolomics approach (fingerprinting & profiling) the effects of different PD agents on general metabolism in the model organism C. elegans was elucidated. The key metabolic hallmarks in cell damage development and cellular defence mechanisms were examined.
- Collaboration partners: Prof. Dr. R. Baumeister, Dr. E. Schmidt
5) Biomarker identification in breast cancer
Diseases accompanied by strong metabolic disorders, like cancer show characteristic effects on cell turnover rate, activity of modifiying enzymes, DNA/RNA modifications and thus the resulting patterns of excreted modified nucleosides in biological fluids is altered. The observed elevated levels of certain ribonucleosides in the urine of cancer patients have established their potential as possible biomarkers in a non-invasive early diagnosis and therapy surveillance system.
- Collaboration partners: Prof. Dr. O. Opitz, Dr. H. Neubauer, Prof. Dr. T. Fehm, Prof. Dr. W. Bannwarth, Prof. Dr. A. Zell, Dr. C. Henneges