FGF-10 SIGNALING TO PROTECT ER-STRESSED ALVEOLAR EPITHELIAL CELLS AGAINST VIRAL INFECTION – IMPACT ON REGENERATION VERSUS FIBROSIS

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive and fatal parenchymal lung disease, which is proposed to originate from chronic injury to aged alveolar epithelial type 2 cells (AT2) such as pro-apoptotic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Fibroblast Growth Factor 10 (FGF-10) has been shown to be important for the formation of the alveolar epithelial lineage development and for survival of AT2 in response to injury. Viral infection is known to trigger progression of IPF and to aggravate the disease. We identified the microRNA miR-142 to be linked with the formation of AT2 during lung development and to be regulated by FGF-10. We also showed that viral infection in ER-stressed AT2 augments apoptosis and boosts lung fibrosis. Moreover, we found that FGF-10 prevents influenza (PR8) amplification in AT2 and that a knockout of miR-142 makes AT2 more resistant to PR8. We propose, that the newly discovered FGF-10-FGFR2b-miR-142 signaling axis in the adult lung decreases viral infection of ER-stressed AT2 cells, and we envision that targeting this axis including metformin administration beneficially impacts virus-induced lung injury and regeneration.

Activities and responsibilities

The labs in Giessen are equipped with all necessary equipment to perform cell culture, molecular biology and cell biology research (S1 and S2 level). In addition, the Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC) and the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) provide excellent conditions, technology.

Qualification profile

Master Biology/Molecular Biology or Veterinary Medicine; Experience with animal experiments; Western Blot, qPCR, Histology, standart molecular biological methods.

We offer

An interdisciplinary, concisely structured graduate programme where your topic-oriented doctoral project is embedded in the multidisciplinary research background.

Send application to

Please direct any enquiries concerning the online application procedure or the GGL to office@ggl.uni-giessen.de.

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About International Giessen Graduate Centre For The Life Sciences

The GGL is an international graduate centre with a number of extraordinary young scientists and an above average percentage of female researchers (64%). Currently, we are in charge of 174 doctoral students of the faculties of psychology, biology, chemistry, sports science, medicine and veterinary medicine.
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