Dr. med. Michael Potente

MPI-HLR, Indep.Reserach Group, Angiogenesis and Metabolism Laboratory

A, Image of the developing vasculature in the retina of a mouse illustrating the highly organized formation of new blood vessels by endothelial sprouting. The colours represent various blood vessel markers.
B, Endothelial cells (ECs) are confronted with several metabolic challenges when they form new branches in avascular tissues. In response to the activation by pro-angiogenic growth factors such as VEGF (dark grey), ECs sprout, migrate and proliferate. Because these behaviours are bio-energetically demanding, ECs must increase their metabolism to produce sufficient energy (ATP) and biomass (nucleotides, protein and lipids) required for vascular expansion. Endothelial metabolism is, thus, a central component of angiogenic signal transduction.

Regulation of angiogenesis by endothelial metabolism


Research in the Potente laboratory is focused on blood vessels, particularly the regulation of blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) by metabolism. Angiogenesis and metabolism are tightly coupled as blood vessels supply nutrients and oxygen to energy-consuming tissues. We study how endothelial cells, which line the inner surface of blood vessels, sense and respond to metabolic signals and how they use this information to build vascular networks of organ-specific size, shape, and function. We are also interested in the metabolism of endothelial cells, aiming to understand how endothelial metabolic state can exert control over genetically hard-wired signals. We believe that a detailed understanding of endothelial metabolism will provide new perspectives on disease mechanisms in the vascular system with implications for disorders with aberrant vessel growth such as cancer.



1.     Potente M, Mäkinen (2017). T. Vascular heterogeneity and specialization in development and disease. NATURE REVIEWS MOLECULAR CELL BIOLOGY 18(8): 477-94.

2.     Yu P, Wilhelm K, Dubrac A, Tung JK, Alves TC, Fang JS, Xie Y, Zhu J, Chen Z, De Smet F, Zhang J, Jin S-W, Sun L, Sun H, Kibbey RG, Hirschi KK, Hay N, Carmeliet P, Chittenden TW, Eichmann A, Potente M, Simons M. FGF-dependent metabolic control of vascular development. NATURE 545:224-28.

3.     Wilhelm K, Happel K, Eelen G, Schoors S, Oellerich MF, Lim R, Zimmermann B, Aspalter IM, Franco CA, Boettger T, Braun T, Fruttiger M, Rajewsky K, Keller C, Bruning JC, Gerhardt H, Carmeliet P, Potente M (2016). FOXO1 couples metabolic activity and growth state in the vascular endothelium. NATURE 529: 216-20. (IF = 40.1)

4.     Potente M, Gerhardt H, Carmeliet P (2011). Basic and therapeutic aspects of angiogenesis. CELL 146: 873-87.

5.     Guarani V, Deflorian G, Franco CA, Kruger M, Phng LK, Bentley K, Toussaint L, Dequiedt F, Mostoslavsky R, Schmidt MH, Zimmermann B, Brandes RP, Mione M, Westphal CH, Braun T, Zeiher AM, Gerhardt H, Dimmeler S, Potente M (2011). Acetylation-dependent regulation of endothelial Notch signalling by the SIRT1 deacetylase. NATURE 473: 234-8.