We are mainly interested in an endogenous signaling entity, the so-called endocannabinoid system. It consists of at least two G-protein coupled cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, and its endogenous ligands. These ligands are metabolized by enzymes and are produced "on demand" at the cell membrane. Main representatives of endocannabinoids are arachidonic acid derivatives such as 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and N-acylethanolamine (anandamide).
The cannabinoid system plays important functions in physiological and pathophysiologic conditions in mice and men. We are therefore focusing on the intracellular interactions and signaling of the cannabinoid receptors to understand the cellular responses in different biological systems under healthy and diseased conditions. By the activation of cannabinoid receptors a release of i.e. neurotransmitters and chemokines can be regulated, which influence the response of neighboring cells. For our investigations we are using biochemical approaches in cellular and/or in mouse models. We are also characterizing new interaction partners of cannabinoid receptors and their effect on cellular signaling and function with special focus on the investigation of genetically identified mutations / variations associated with human diseases.
Our future aim is to understand underlying molecular mechanisms in physiologic and pathophysiologic states and to use pharmacological tools to influence this biological system.
The Endocannabinoid System