Cardiovascular Research

Engelhardt, Stefan

Signal transduction in the cardiovascular system

Adrenergic signaling in the heart:
Beta-adrenergic receptors are a subclass of G protein-coupled receptors which play a crucial role in the neurohormonal regulation of cardiovascular functions. Activation of these receptors is the strongest mechanism to increase cardiac frequency and contractility. However, sustained activation of b-adrenergic receptors contributes to the development of cardiac disease. We currently study b-adrenergic receptor signaling, search for novel downstream targets and study the impact of receptor polymorphisms on ligand-induced conformational changes of the receptor protein.

Role of microRNAs in cardiac health and disease:
MicroRNAs control diverse biological processes including major signaling pathways by regulating the expression of complementary target mRNAs. Although MicroRNAs were recently implicated in the regulation of diverse cardiac functions in a series of elegant genetic studies, detailed molecular mechanisms for microRNAs in disease pathways in vivo are poorly understood. We have identified several candidate microRNAs, which are severely deregulated in cardiac disease and established techniques for detecting, quantifying and manipulating microRNA expression.

Ubiquitin-Proteasome System:
Another research focus at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology is the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The laboratory of Dr. Antonio Sarikas uses interdisciplinary approaches that include modern methods of molecular biology, protein biochemistry and mouse genetics to study the regulation of signaling pathways by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Please also see