Maria Zellner, PhD
Medical University of Vienna
Institute of Physiology
Centre for Physiology and Pharmacology
Schwarzspanierstrasse 17, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Phone: +43 (0)1 40160 31420
Know-how and research interests
Ageing-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and thrombotic disorders are rife in the industrialized nations, but little is known on how to predict their onset at early stages. In the course of our clinical studies, we use platelets not only as an obvious source for biomarkers for the early diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases but also as a peripheral model for neurons. Since platelets represent an easily accessible tissue, we exploit them here to develop a diagnostic chip layered with antibody raised against specific platelet proteins. Our central tool for biomarker characterisation is based on the technique of fluorescence two dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D DIGE). We also employ mass spectrometry (high-LC-MS/MS) for investigating tryptic digested peptides as well as the required instruments for analyzing the function of platelets. The investigations carried out by my group focus on delineating the molecular pathway responsible for changes seen to occur in newly characterized biomarkers, either due to disease or ageing. In addition, we are exploring whether the AD biomarker used by us (monoamine oxidase B) is epigenetically regulated via the one carbon pathway, by studying this process in different human cell lines. In other clinical studies, we investigate the influence of exercise on the platelet proteome. Moreover, due to the linkage between cigarette smoking and ageing, we are also interested in the potential influence smoking on different functional properties of platelets, specifically the generation in platelets of reactive oxygen species and the release of platelet microparticles. Systematic proteome analysis enables us also to identify universal biomarkers that could act as valuable reference proteins required for calibrating bioassays in routine as well as other research applications. It is hoped that as a result of these endeavors, one day it would be possible to predict the onset of AD and other ageing-related diseases decades ahead of their actual outbreak.
The role of the platelets in ageing-related diseases
Techniques and infrastructure of the research group:
- basic molecular and cellular biology techniques
- immunological and functional assays
- subcellular fractionation
- flow cytometry
5 selected publications
1.) Zellner M, Baureder M, Rappold E, Bugert P, Kotzailias N, Sycha T, Babeluk R, Roland Baumgartner R, Attems J, Gerner C, Oehler R, Jellinger K, Umlauf E. Comparative platelet proteome analysis reveals an increase of monoamine oxidase-B expression in Alzheimer’s disease but not in Parkinson’s disease patients. 2012 Apr 3;75(7):2080-92.
2.) Zellner M, Graf A, Zehetmayer S, Winkler W, Staes A, Gevaert K, Vanderkerckhove J, Marchetti-Deschmann, Miller I, Bauer P, Allmaier Günter, Oehler R. (2012) How many spots can be tolerated in quantitative two-dimensional gel-electrophoresis when applying univariate statistics? 2012 Mar 16;75(6):1792-802.
3.) Zellner M, Babeluk R, Jakobsen LH, Gerner C, Umlauf E, Volf I, Roth E, Kondrup J. A proteomics study reveals a predominant change in MaoB expression in platelets of healthy volunteers after high protein meat diet: relationship to the methylation cycle. J Neural Transm. 2011 May;118(5):653-62.
4.) Zellner M, Babeluk R, Diestinger M, Pirchegger P, Skeledzic S, Oehler R. Fluorescence-based Western blotting for quantitation of protein biomarkers in clinical samples. Electrophoresis. 2008 Sep 19;29(17):3621-3627.
5.) Zellner M, Winkler W (equally contributing authors), Diestinger M, Babeluk R, Marchetti M, Goll A, Zehetmayer S, Peter Bauer P, Rappold E, Miller I, Roth E, Allmaier G Oehler R. Biological Variation of the platelet proteome in the elderly population and its implication for biomarker research. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. 2008 Jan;7(1):193-203.