Karlhans Endlich, Dept. of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University Medicine Greifswald

Additional PIs: Endlich, Nicole, Ph.D.

Research Focus: podocytes and glomerular disease with a focus on: actin cytoskeleton, cell mechanics, glomerular hypertension, podocyte differentiation, bioinformatics, biomarkers (genetic polymorphisms, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome)

Relevance of your Provisional grouping in KidneyConnect:

The focus of our research group is on the biology of podocytes covering aspects of direct medical relevance:

  • the actin cytoskeleton that shapes the interdigitating foot processes, that regulates foot process effacement, which is common to most glomerulopathies, and that is involved in podocyte bridge formation in crescentic glomerulonephritis;
  • the response of podocytes to mechanical force that is elevated in glomerular hypertension resulting in podocyte loss;
  • the differentiation of podocytes that is of relevance for regenerative medicine.

Therefore, our research group fits well into the working module "Future and Perspectives of Podocyte Research".

We see the important challenges and opportunities of our subgroup in the following topics:

  • Integration of current podocyte knowledge. Here we could contribute PodNet, a protein-protein interaction network containing the current knowledge of proteins expressed in the podocyte and their interaction with other proteins. We also might contribute to the differential analysis of available transcriptomes and proteomes with our ExprEssence tool.'
  • Understanding podocyte differentiation that is central to any approach in regenerative medicine and that might also be relevant for the development of therapeutic podocyte drugs. Here we could contribute with our ongoing analysis of podocyte transcriptomes and PEC/podocyte differentiation experiments in culture.
  • Validating molecular targets and testing pharmacological compounds in cell culture and in the zebrafish model.

Resources Available relevant to your grouping

  • Special Techniques: electron, confocal and 2-photon microscopy; live cell imaging; mouse podocyte cell lines (Schiwek et al., Kidney Int. 2004); apparatus to apply cyclic mechanical stress to cells (Endlich et al., J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 2001); measurement of traction force with subcellular resolution on elastic micropatterned substrates (unpublished)
  • Animal Models/Knock Outs: zebrafish pronephric glomerulus as an in vivo model of the glomerulus (Müller et al., Kidney Int. 2011) including gene knockdown, measurement of glomerular permeability, 2-photon microscopy, transgenic lines (e.g. GFP expression in podocytes)
  • Datasets: various transcriptomes of podocytes and PECs (freshly isolated, in culture under different conditions)
  • Others: bioinformatics: podocyte protein-protein interaction network PodNet (Warsow et al., Kidney Int. in press) and differential expression analysis with ExprEssence algorithm (Warsow et al., BMC Syst. Biol. 2010)
  • Clinical/Translational Resources
  • Biobanks: cf. Population/Patient Cohorts
  • Population/Patient Cohorts: privileged access to cohort data and biosamples of patients and probands (SHIP, GANI_MED)*, e.g. 1,000 probands with questionnaire, medical examination, whole body MRT, biosamples (blood, urine, saliva), DNA polymorphisms (SNP chip), blood cell transcriptome, urine and serum metabolome. *SHIP (Study of Health in Pomerania) is an ongoing longitudinal population study of about 4,000 people that started in 1997; GANI_MED (Greifswald Approach to Individualised Medicine) is an ongoing patient study enrolling 4,000 patients by the end of 2014 (about 1,000 patients with CKD)

Special Techniques for Clinical Assessment

  • Patient Groups for Clinical trials
  • Others: biomarker search for CKD in the proteome and metabolome of serum, urine and saliva, in the whole blood cell transcriptome, and in the genome (SNP analysis)