Gene Regulation and Epigenetics

Our previous contributions to pathway focused research:

Until recently a major focus of the group has been the transcriptional regulation of the mouse Delta-like 1 (Delta1 , Dll1) gene including miRNAs (e.g. Machka et al., 2005; Hoesel et al., 2010) and its functional requirement during mouse embryogenesis (e.g. Rubio-Aliaga et al., 2009; Rubio-Aliaga et al., 2007; Teppner et al, 2007; Przemeck et al., 2003).

Our contributions to large-scale functional genomics:

A significant fraction of our work has been and will be interdisciplinary research in scientific collaborations. We generate gene expression data using state-of-the-art technology and provide comprehensive scientific services for the integration of multiple level phenotype data (e.g. Elkan-Miller et al., 2011; Horsch et al., 2011; Beckervordersandforth et al., 2010; Bode et al., 2008, Irmler et al., 2008). Such scientific collaborations stem from our participation, for example, in the German Mouse Clinic (Molecular Phenotyping Screen), in the ‘Systemic Research Matrix’ of the Helmholtz Program ‘Systemic Analysis of Multifactorial Diseases’ and from our contribution to several national research consortia over the years (e.g. Human Brain Proteome Project, National Genome Research Network, Helmholtz Alliance on Systems Biology, MouseExpress).

Our future contributions to metabolic diseases and diabetes research:

Our vision for the Gene Regulation Group is that within the next five years we want to understand the epigenetic inheritance of a maternally acquired metabolic disease in a mammalian model. Besides genetic factors that contribute to diabetes mellitus, this disorder is also caused by environment and life style. Interestingly, patients more frequently have an affected mother than an affected father. This suggests that either epigenetic inheritance from the mother or the maternal environment during gestation (or both) might favour the development of a diabetic phenotype in the offspring. Our mission for the next years is to identify these envirotypic factors, to analyse their epigenetic inheritance and to understand their contribution to the etiology of a metabolic disease. We will examine the effect of life style factors of the mother on epigenetics, transcriptomics, metabolomics and characteristic diabetes related phenotypes in the offspring.