The main research area of dr Włodarski group is epigenetic regulation of inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases, enzymes that are involved in angiogenesis and tissue remodeling. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) are regulated through interaction with their natural inhibitory partners present in tissues, named tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP). The expression of the latter is regulated epigenetically, i.e. through promoter methylation and/or by small non-coding RNA molecules – microRNA (miRNA). The team is focused on investigating the mechanism in which TIMPs are downregulated in cancer of ovary or prostate, as well as in endometriosis – another pathological condition connected with formation of new blood vessels. The team results point to particular miRNA playing a major regulatory role in this process.
Currently, we are aiming at finding other efects of theaberrant expression of this miRNA in endometriosis. Another line of dr Włodarski investigation is connected with seeking polymorphisms in the DNA sequence, which render a given gene prone or resistant to regulation by miRNA.For example, the team have found that such alteration in the TGFβR1 gene sequence, which has no effect on the function of the liver in healthy individuals, turns out to be a very important prognostic factor in patients infected with hepatitis C virus.