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Most bones of the skeleton form by the process of endochondral ossification (EO), where mesenchymal precursors differentiate into cartilaginous intermediates which are subsequently replaced by bone. EO is a multi-step event and it plays essential roles during skeletogenesis, cartilage repair, bone fracture healing, vascular calcification and skeletal tumorigenesis. Although some aspects are different, common molecular and cellular processes are operating in embryonic, adult and healing skeletal tissues; therefore the identification of general molecular players is beneficial for the better understanding of normal, pathological and regenerative skeletal tissue biology. Our concept is that cellular interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM) induce signaling cascades that originate in an actin-cytoskeleton based scaffold and control the development, function and regeneration of the skeletal system. In this scenario, ECM composition, anchorage-dependent processes such as integrin-mediated adhesion and actin organization/dynamics are mutually modulate cellular behavior and physical properties of cartilaginous/bony tissues. In order to link molecular mechanisms of ECM/cellular adaptation induced by external stimuli to biomechanical and biochemical functions of skeletal tissues we are applying an interdisciplinary strategy that combines mouse genetics, cell biology, imaging techniques and the application of indentation-type atomic force microscopy.   Cartilage2

Current Projects

1. The role of integrin-mediated adhesion in skeletogenesis and osteoarthritis

2. Rho GTPases in skeletogenesis and cartilage/bone diseases

3. Molecular understanding of the Aarskog-Scott syndrome

4. The function of the ECM adaptor protein matrilins in cartilage

Group Leader

Attila Aszódi studied biology and chemistry at the Eötvös Lorand University, (Budapest, Hungary) and did his PhD at the Agricultural Biotechnology Center (Gödöllö, Hungary). After a postdoc period in the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry (Martinsried, Germany, 1995-97) he was group leader at the Department of Experimental Pathology of Lund University Hospital (Lund, Sweden, 1998-2001) and at the Department of Molecular Medicine of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry (Martinsried, Germany, 2002-2010). In 2011 he has joined to the Laboratory for Experimental Surgery and Regenerative Medicine (Department of Surgery, LMU, Munich) and leads the Cartilage Research unit.