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Max-Planck-Institut für Experimentelle Medizin
Molecular Neurobiology

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Nils Brose

Information transfer in the brain is mediated at synapses which are specialized contact sites between a sending and a receiving nerve cell. Research in our laboratory focuses on molecular mechanisms of synapse development and function in the mammalian central nervous system. For that purpose, we are combining protein biochemical, yeast genetic, cell biological, electrophysiological and morphological methods with mouse genetics to identify and characterize key molecules with functional roles in synaptogenesis, presynaptic neurotransmitter release and postsynaptic signal transduction pathways. The final aim of these studies is a detailed molecular understanding of synaptogenesis and synaptic transmission, which in turn will be useful for the design of therapeutic strategies for neurological and psychiatric diseases that involve synaptic dysfunction.

Synaptogenesis, that is the generation of functional synapses between nerve cells, is the final step in the development of the central nervous system. In the mammalian brain, it results in the establishment of a neural network, connecting some 1012 nerve cells with up to 1015 synapses. To understand the molecular processes underlying the key steps of synaptogenesis i.e. cell-cell recognition, protein recruitment, and adhesion - we are studying the function of synaptic cell adhesion proteins and their interaction partners and scaffolding proteins. Presynaptic neurotransmitter release is the initial step in synaptic signaling.

It is mediated by exocytotic fusion of synaptic vesicles with the plasma membrane. In contrast to most other secretory processes, synaptic neurotransmitter release is restricted to designated release sites. These so called active zones are electron dense regions of the presynaptic plasma membrane at which the final steps of synaptic vesicle exocytosis, docking, priming and Ca2+-triggered fusion, take place with extreme spatial and temporal accuracy.

To understand the underlying molecular processes, we are studying the function and regulation of active zone specific protein components and their interaction partners.


Group leader:
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Nils Brose
Phone: +49 (0) 551 3899 725/705
Fax: +49(0) 551 3899 715




 Wieviel Maus steckt im Menschen? (Video)


Nils Brose
Member of the EUROSPIN research project

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