Professor of Medical Genetics
Institute of Medical Genetics
Center of Pathobiochemistry and Genetics
Währinger Straße 10, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Phone: +43 (0)1 40160 - 56515
FAX: +43 (0)1 40160 - 956501
Innate Immunity, macrophages and dendritic cells, mTOR, cellular and systemic metabolism.
Regulation of innate immune homeostasis by metabolic pathways
The innate myeloid immune system is a complex network of cells that protect against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells, but it is also implicated in homeostatic mechanisms like tissue remodeling and wound healing.
Myeloid phagocytes such as macrophages or dendritic cells are at the basis of controlling these immune responses in all tissues of the body.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an important kinase that regulates the cellular metabolism by promoting macromolecule biosynthesis in response to environmental and cellular signals.
The main focus of our group is to study the molecular mechanisms of how the mTOR pathway influences innate immune activation in macrophages and dendritic cells induced in response to pathogens or environmental signals.
We study how inhibition of mTOR, which is an established therapy in basic organ transplantation and cancer, modulates the inflammatory response and how the mTOR pathway incorporates environmental and metabolic signals to regulate host immunity and tissue homeostasis.
These processes are studied by biochemical and molecular approaches in vitro and in mouse models in vivo by analyzing mice with tissue-specific knockouts for certain molecules of the mTOR pathway.
Molecular and cell biology techniques, cell culture, flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR, immunoblotting, ELISA, metabolic and immunological assays, analysis of knockout mice.
More information about the various research projects can be found <here>
Weichhart T, Hengstschläger M, Linke M, (2015) Regulation of innate immune cell function by mTOR. Nat Rev Immunol. 15(10):599-614
Katholnig K, Kaltenecker CC, Hayakawa H, Rosner M, Lassnig C, Zlabinger GJ, Gaestel M, Müller M, Hengstschläger M, Hörl WH, Park JM, Säemann MD, Weichhart T; (2013) p38α Senses Environmental Stress To Control Innate Immune Responses via Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin. J Immunol. (190):1519-27.
Katholnig K, Linke M, Pham H, Hengstschläger M, Weichhart T, (2013) Immune responses of macrophages and dendritic cells regulated by mTOR signalling. Biochem Soc Trans. (41):927-33.
Weichhart T, (2012) Mammalian target of rapamycin: a signaling kinase for every aspect of cellular life. Methods Mol Biol. (821):1-14.
Weichhart T, Haidinger M, Katholnig K, Kopecky C, Poglitsch M, Lassnig C, Rosner M, Zlabinger GJ, Hengstschläger M, Müller M, Hörl WH, Säemann MD, (2011) Inhibition of mTOR blocks the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids in myeloid immune cells. Blood. (16):4273-83