The endosomal system plays an essential role in maintaining cell homeostasis by controlling cellular signaling, nutrient sensing, cell polarity and cell migration. However, its place in the regulation of tissue, organ and whole body physiology and metabolism is less well understood. Therefore, the Zeigerer group investigates the novel link between endocytosis and metabolism with impact on metabolic disease such as type-2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. In particular, we are interested in how components of the endo-lysosomal system influence glucose and lipid metabolism in the liver. On the other hand, we investigate how metabolic cues, such as the fasting/feeding transition and metabolic abnormalities alter endo-lysosomal function. To address these research areas, the lab uses primary mouse and human hepatocyte 3D cultures, where hepatocytes regain cell polarity and liver-specific metabolic functions, as well as in vivo liver specific nanoparticle mediated knockdown technology, coupled with biochemistry, cellular metabolic assays, high-resolution confocal microscopy and quantitative imaging. This approach enables to bridge two so far unconnected research areas, intracellular trafficking and metabolism, leading to the establishment of a new research direction and a simultaneous development of a new class of therapeutic target structures for metabolic diseases.
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