Division of Molecular Embryology

Prof. Dr. Christof Niehrs

Xenopus embryo with two heads, resulting from experimental overactivation of the head inducer Dickkopf1
© dkfz.de

How cells communicate with their environment via cell-cell interactions and by growth factors is a key question in the molecular life sciences. The Wnt growth factor signaling pathway plays an eminent role in development and stem cells. Understanding the molecular events that regulate Wnt signalling is of fundamental importance for cancer research. Yet, many aspects of the Wnt signal transduction remain elusive. In this context, the Division of Molecular Embryology is using frogs and mice as model organisms to study mechanisms of Wnt signaling, which underlies embryonic cell differentiation. We are identifying developmental control genes, and are investigating their functions and regulation. Our particular interest is investigating the mechanisms of signaling events at the plasma membrane.

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


Prof. Dr. Christof Niehrs
Molecular Embryology (A050)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 42 4693

Selected Publications

  • Koch, S. et al. (2015). Post-transcriptional Wnt Signaling Governs Epididymal Sperm Maturation. Cell, 163(5),1225-1236
  • Perez-Acebron, S.P. et al. (2014). Mitotic wnt signaling promotes protein stabilization and regulates cell size. Mol Cell, 54(4), 663-774.
  • Cruciat, C.M. et al. (2013). RNA helicase DDX3 is a regulatory subunit of casein kinase 1 in Wnt-beta-catenin signaling. Science, 339(6126), 1436-1441.
  • Cruciat, C.M. et al. (2010). Requirement of prorenin receptor and vacuolar H+-ATPase mediated acidification for Wnt signaling. Science, 327(5964), 459-463.
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