Research of the AG
Targeted tumor therapies, non-viral controlled gene transfer and anti-inflammatory natural products are the focus of research at the Fuchs’ group. Glycosylated triterpenoids play a crucial role in all projects.
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Research focus of the Fuchs’ group
In each of our projects, secondary plant metabolites from the group of glycosylated triterpenoids play an important role.
Targeted tumor therapies
Here, we focus on plant toxins as pharmaceutically active components in combination with targeted moieties ("ligands") to increase the therapeutic window. The targeted toxins are combined with glycosylated triterpenoids that mediate the release of the toxin from intracellular vesicles ("endosomal escape"), resulting in an increase in efficacy by several orders of magnitude.
Controlled gene transfer (ENDOSCAPE)
The major obstacle in non-viral gene therapy approaches is the release of nucleic acid into the cytosol. In the ENDOSCAPE project, we and eleven other partners are trying to overcome this barrier by developing non-viral delivery systems that both protect the nucleic acid and mediate specificity for target cells via ligands. Again, glycosylated triterpenoids serve as enhancers of the release of genetic material from endosomes ("endosomal escape enhancers").
Anti-inflammatory natural products
Although a number of plant sources of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals are known, neither the molecular mechanism of their cellular action nor the structural features required for the interactions are definitively known. Therefore, we are working to elucidate the structure-function relationships of anti-inflammatory glycosylated triterpenoids.