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Molekulare Mechanismen (B)

Molecular Mechanisms (B)

Using genetic and cell biology techniques, the scientists at DZD are working to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of diabetes. They are seeking to identify further genes associated with diabetes and to elucidate biochemical regulation pathways in the body. The aim is to derive concepts for new drugs. In the search for diabetes-relevant genes, the DZD works closely with international consortia. 

New Diabetes-relevant Genes Identified
Based on epidemiological studies, but also cell and mouse studies, the DZD has succeeded in identifying some mutations of genes that favor the development of diabetes. These include, among others, Elmod1, which is involved in the absorption of fat in the blood and also regulates body weight, or lfi202b, the increased activity of which can lead to diabetes.

Genes can be switched on and off by chemical modification (methylation) of the DNA building blocks. © DZD

Epigenetics – Influence of Lifestyle
However, not only the genetic code itself influences diabetes risk. An individual’s lifestyle can also influence the extent to which specific genes are transcribed and their information implemented. Epigenetics investigates this phenomenon. Current DZD research results suggest that obesity and diabetes caused by diet are epigenetically transmitted via both the egg cells and the sperm to the offspring.


Increased risk for T2D for the offspring of mice with high fat diet by epigenetic mechanisms, Nature Genetics 2016, doi:10.1038/nature.2016.19556

Early hypermethylation of hepatic Igfbp2 results in its reduced expression preceding fatty liver in mice, Hum Mol Genet. 2016 Jun 15;25(12):2588-2599. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddw121

Bezafibrate Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Metabolic Flexibility in STZ-Induced Diabetic Mice, Fr, Diabetes. 2016 Sep;65(9):2540-52. doi: 10.2337/db15-1670

Tbc1d1 deletion suppresses obesity in leptin-deficient mice, International Journal of Obesity (2016) 40, doi:10.1038/ijo.2016.45

Hepatic DPP4 DNA Methylation Associates With Fatty Liver; Diabetes 2017 Jan; 66(1): 25-35., doi.org/10.2337/db15-1716


Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c. Martin Hrabě de Angelis
Institute of Experimental Genetics

Prof. Dr. Annette Schürmann
Department of Experimental Diabetology