Åke Oldberg, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Group Leader
Our research focuses on the function and biosynthesis of a family of extra-cellular matrix leucine-rich repeat proteoglycans/glycoproteins (SLRP) and on COMP, a cartilage protein related to thrombospondin. The investigations will hopefully lead to a better understanding of how these proteins affect the biomechanical and other properties of connective tissues.
The collagen scaffold determines the structure and mechanical properties of connective tissues. Studies of mice lacking specific members of the small leucine rich repeat proteoglycan (SLRP) family show that many of these connective tissue components have a role in the regulation of the structure and mechanical properties of collagen scaffold.
The overall aim of our studies is to understand the molecular mechanisms behind this regulation. How does the SLRP´s interact with collagen and where in the synthesis of the collagen matrix do they function; the intra-cellular processing of procollagen or in the extra-cellular matrix fibril formation and cross-linking-
The cooperation between SLRP´s and collagen in determining the structure and mechanical properties of connective tissues have implications for diseases such as osteoarthritis, cancer and atherosclerosis.
A detailed knowledge of the function and biosynthesis of the structural connective tissue components is a prerequisite for an understanding of the pathogenesis of diseases such as osteoarthritis and also for the development of new treatments.