Research Group Weih/Haenold
Immune to Aging
An intact immune system is crucial for health, especially in older age. The former research group of Falk Weih, now provisionally lead by Ronny Haenold, lays its research focus on the impact of gene regulator NF-kappaB on the immune system. This transcription factor is a protein complex that can switch gene transcription on or off. Further, the lab investigates how NF-κB is involved in the emergence of inflammations and autoimmune diseases. With the help of genetically altered mouse models we are analyzing the NF-κB signaling pathway in both normal development and pathological alterations of the immune system. One of our goals is a better understanding of NF-κB function in age-related immune deficiencies and disease.
In vertebrates, five genes code for several subunits of NF-κB. To become inactive, NF-κB binds on an inhibiting IkB-molecule within cytoplasm. To reactivate NF-κB as transcription factor to switch genes on and off, stimulation through extracellular signaling molecules or intracellular messenger substances is needed, which – in several intermediate steps – induce the IkB-molecules’ degradation such that the NF-κB-complex is set free. Two signaling pathways are relevant for this: the 'classical' and the 'alternative' pathway – both laying in the focus of the Weih/Haenold research group.
Tools and Methods
- Histological, cellular and molecular studies
- Neurogenetic and neuritogenetic analyses
- Transgenic mouse models
- In vivo MR imaging (Magnetic resonance imaging)