University of Vienna, Austria

Main Research Interest 

Metal ion homeostasis is of prime importance for many cellular functions, e.g. membrane integrity, differentiation processes, enzyme activity, etc., which is reflected also in a growing number of human diseases, linked to failures in the metal ion homeostasis. Our research interests focus on transport and homeostasis of magnesium, iron, potassium and regulatory mechanisms, controlling trace elements in the cell. We have chosen the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as an ideal model organism for a first identification of genes coding for proteins involved in ion uptake and homeostasis. The elaborate genetics of this organism allows us a rapid first identification of relevant genes, the location of their products in the cell and their functional involvement. Homologous genes and proteins from mammals or plants can be screened by their putatively conserved sequence similarity and by their ability to rescue mutant yeast cells with defects in ion uptake and homeostasis.

Role/Objectives in Translucent Project

In this project, we will focus on potassium homeostasis as a key mechanism in cellular development. Genome profiling in cells, designed for knock down of essential genes involved in potassium transport, under control of a Tet regulatable promoter, should provide an inside on mechanisms, directly linked to potassium shortage. Characterization of genes modified in their expression should provide information how cells are affected in volume control and cellular development. In accordance with newly discovered data, a regulatory network of genes involved in the maintenance of ion homeostasis in yeast will be generated.



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