Research Group Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Achim Krüger
The goal of my lab is to understand molecular mechanisms of life-threatening conditions of various diseases such as cancer metastasis, cancer cachexia, acute sterile and non-sterile inflammation (sepsis, viral infection) etc., which involve pro-inflammatory immune cell activation. The broad impact of our findings on the understanding of such different diseases derives from the outstanding multifunctionality of TIMP-1 (Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1), the protein on which we have mainly focused on in the past years. Proteases and their natural inhibitors, such as TIMP-1, impact on virtually all processes of life by controlling the availability and the biological function of proteins or peptides in the microenvironment of any cell in physiological and patho-physiological conditions. In addition, we explore the newly-found non-canonic cytokine-like function of TIMP-1 and its interaction with an emerging number of cell surface receptors, leading to reprogramming of gene expression signatures and cellular behavior of tumor and immune cells as well as other cells on an organism-wide scale.
Since the blood levels of TIMP-1 positively correlate with the progression of a broad range of inflammation-associated diseases including most cancers, most sterile inflammations as well as acute sterile and non-sterile inflammation (sepsis, viral infection), our basic research approaches harbor a great potential for clinical application. Since our recent discovery of sex-specific regulation of disease-associated TIMP-1 expression, we also explore the timely aspects of gender medicine.