PD Dr. rer. nat. Martina Anton
Tel +49 89 4140 - 4453
Fax +49 89 4140 - 6922
The Anton lab is interested in generating different viral vectors with enhanced efficiency and selectivity for target cells or target organs. We use defective viruses, in which we clone genes that code for proteins with therapeutic efficacy, e.g. coding for growth factors in order to enhance tissue repair (lentivirus, adenovirus), coding for cytotoxic genes for killing of tumor cells or cytokines that modulate the immune response (adenovirus, lentivirus).
Although innate immunity is well preserved in the liver, the persistence of microbial infections together the extraordinary acceptance of liver transplants by the recipient´s immune system indicate that immune regulation in the liver follows particular rules. Local regulatory cues delivered by organ-resident non-immune cells as well as bone marrow derived immune cells contribute to generate a micro-environment that favours induction of immune tolerance rather than immunity.
Regulated gene expression is used in different viral vectors (adeno- and lentiviral vectors). Due to their integrating nature lentiviral vectors are specially suited for prolonged gene transfer. To prevent the potential problem of unrestrained growth factor production that might contribute to neoplastic growth we use lentiviral vectors that allow for regulated expression in target cells like chondrocytes for the repair of degenerated joint tissue.
In the past we have developed viral vectors for monitoring gene transfer in vivo by non-invasive nuclear medical methods like Gamma camera and positron emission tomography. Our special interest is in monitoring a) gene transfer directly to the heart and b) homing of virally modified cells to the heart. Furthermore we were able to detect and quantify distribution of gene transfer in this organ and distribution in the body. In ongoing approaches, which are pursued in national and international collaborations, we stably transduce tumor and primary cells, with lentiviral vectors expressing reporter genes that allow for in vivo bioluminescence imaging for control of therapeutic interventions and long-term survival of transplanted cells in animal models.