Metabolism and Stem Cell Plasticity

DKFZ Junior Group Metabolism and Stem Cell Plasticity

Dr. Alexandros Vegiopoulos

Fluorescence image of adipose tissue stem/ stromal cells during their differentiation to adipocytes (red: lipid staining; green: green fluorescent protein; blue: DNA staining).

Our work aims at understanding the control of stem cell function by organismal metabolism. We focus on adipose tissue mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (ASCs) - immature cells partly associated with the vasculature - which contribute to tissue remodelling by adopting different fates including the formation of new adipocytes. In particular, we are interested in the role of ASCs in nutrition-driven early adipose tissue growth, leading to childhood obesity and the programming of adult metabolic disease. In addition, we have been contributing major discoveries on the regulation of the oxidative/thermogenic adipocyte fate of ASCs, which is triggered by organismal cold exposure and conveys protection from metabolic disease.

Currently, we are investigating how the microenvironment senses and relays nutritional cues and systemic metabolic states to control ASC function and thereby adipose tissue quantity and quality. We envisage reaching conclusions relevant to the prevention and management of childhood obesity in relation to adult metabolic disease. Finally, we expect to obtain insight into common mechanistic links between organismal metabolism and normal versus neoplastic tissue growth.


Dr. Alexandros Vegiopoulos
Metabolism and Stem Cell Plasticity (A171)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
69120 Heidelberg

Selected Publications

  • Babaei R, Schuster M, Meln I, Lerch S, Ghandour RA, Pisani DF, Bayindir-Buchhalter I, Marx J, Wu S, Schoiswohl G, Billeter AT, Krunic D, Mauer J, Lee YH, Granneman JG, Fischer L, Müller-Stich BP, Amri EZ, Kershaw EE, Heikenwälder M, Herzig S, Vegiopoulos A. (2017). Jak-TGF? cross-talk links transient adipose tissue inflammation to beige adipogenesis. Science Signaling 11(527), eaai7838.
  • Vegiopoulos A, Rohm M, Herzig S. (2017). Adipose tissue: between the extremes. EMBO J 36(14), 1999-2017.
  • Bayindir-Buchhalter, I., Wolff, G., Lerch, S., Schuster, M., Sijmonsma, T.P., Gronych, J., Bileter, A., Babaei, R., Krunic, D., Ketscher, L., Ruas, J.L., Müller-Stich, B.P., Heikenwälder, M., Lichter, P., Herzig, S., Vegiopoulos, A. (2018) Cited4 is a sex-biased regulator of the antidiabetic glitazone response in adipocyte progenitors. EMBO Molecular Medicine pii: e8613. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Wolff, G., Taranko, A.E., Meln, I., Weinmann, J.,, Sijmonsma, T., Lerch, S., Heide, D., Billeter, A.T., Tews, D., Krunic, D., Fischer-Posovszky, P., Müller-Stich, B.P., Herzig, S., Grimm, D., Heikenwälder, M., Kao, W.W., Vegiopoulos, A. (2018) Diet-dependent function of the extracellular matrix proteoglycan Lumican in obesity and glucose homeostasis. Molecular Metabolism, 10.1016/j.molmet.2018.10.007.
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