Work package 3: Ion Balance

Control of potassium and phosphate homeostasis

Work package leaders: Johannes Loffing and Carsten Wagner

Control of extracellular potassium (K+) and inorganic phosphate (Pi) homeostasis is crucial to preventing adverse effects on the cardiovascular system including life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and vascular calcifications. The kidneys are central to the maintenance of extracellular K+ and Pi balance.

The long term objective of WP3 is to identify and characterize the sensing and signalling mechanism for the renal control of K+ and Pi homeostasis. Four collaborative projects aim (1) to identify, at the cellular and molecular level, homeostasis-relevant sensors for K+ and Pi, (2) to characterize the signalling pathways that mediate the adaptation of the renal distal convoluted tubule and the renal collecting system to an altered K+ intake, (3) to assess the cellular and molecular regulation of phosphate transport in the renal proximal tubule, and (4) to analyze the role of corticosteroid-dependent renal signalling pathways for the dietary adaptation and the circadian rhythm of renal K+ and Pi excretion.
Knowledge regarding involved sensing and signalling mechanisms may lead to improved diagnoses, therapy, and prevention of deranged K+ and Pi homeostasis in patients including those with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

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