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Division of Molecular Embryology

Prof. Dr. Christof Niehrs

Xenopus embryo with two heads, resulting from experimental overactivation of the head inducer Dickkopf1
Vergrößerte Ansicht Xenopus embryo with two heads, resulting from experimental overactivation of the head inducer Dickkopf1

Analyses of the molecular processes taking place during embryonic development have shown that the principles guiding embryonic development in humans and in animals are very similar on a molecular level. Today it is known that genes involved in the development also play a role in human diseases. The Division of Molecular Embryology is studying mechanisms regulating cell differentiation. The aim is to characterize molecular mechanisms relevant for the formation of the body axis in frogs and mice. To this end, we are identifying developmental control genes and investigating how these are regulated and what their functions are. Our special interest is devoted to investigating the mechanisms of the Wnt signaling pathway in this context.

Future research is aimed at identifying novel Wnt pathway components, to study their role and mechanism of action.

Selected Publications

Cruciat, CM., B. Ohkawara, S. P. Acebron, E. Karaulanov, C. Reinhard, D. Ingelfinger, M. Boutros and C. Niehrs. (2010). Requirement of prorenin receptor and vacuolar H+-ATPase mediated acidification for Wnt signalling. Science 327, 459-463.

Bilic, J., Huang, Y. L., Davidson, G., Zimmermann, T., Cruciat, C. M., Bienz, M., and Niehrs, C. (2007). Wnt induces LRP6 signalosomes and promotes dishevelled-dependent LRP6 phosphorylation. Science 316, 1619-22.

Davidson, G., Wu, W., Shen, J., Bilic, J., Fenger, U., Stannek, P., Glinka, A., Niehrs, C. (2005) Casein kinase 1 couples Wnt receptor signaling to the cytoplasmic transduction apparatus. Nature 438, 867-872

Glinka, A., Wu, W., Delius, H., Monaghan, P., Blumenstock, C. and Niehrs, C. (1998): Dickkopf-1 is a member of a new family of secreted proteins and functions in head induction. Nature 391, 357-362.

last update: 11/11/2011 back to top