Biophysical characterization of cytokine receptor signalling

At all times, eukaryotic cells sample their environment for protein messengers that activate certain signalling pathways or deactivate others. Recognition and interpretation of such signals (signal transduction) therefore plays a central role for many cellular communication and differentiation processes that orchestrate the physiology of metazoan bodies.

We are interested in the very early steps of signalling pathway activation. To gain quantitative insights, we employ modern microscopic fluorescence detection methods (FCS/FCCS, FRAP, FLIM/FRET, CLEM, TIRFM) for the characterization of fluorescent reporters in genetically engineered cellular model systems. Our goal is to determine physicochemical properties of molecular rearrangements and modifications that lead from the initial ligand binding and receptor activation to the subsequent phosphorylation of pathway specific downstream factors.

The scope of our research involves not only binding and diffusion at the cell surface but also complex traits of the environment, for example, the micro-structured plasma membrane, a dynamically remodelled actin cortex, and endosomal trafficking. In recent years we devoted much efforts to investigate how in detail the Interleukin-4 receptor mediates activation of the JAK/STAT pathway. IL-4R plays a crucial role for the production of antibodies in adaptive immunity. Misregulation of this receptor is closely associated with allergy and asthma. Furthermore, in cooperation with other groups, we applied our approach also to other receptor types (IL-21R, Fas, and Hedgehog) and receptor trafficking related actin regulators (Rac1/Pak and Spir/formin).


Peter Schultz

Frederik Steiert


Prof. Dr. Kathrin Lang, Synthetische Biochemie, Technical University Munich, Germany.

Prof. Dr. Eugen Kerkhoff, Molecular Cell Biology Laboratory, Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Germany.

Dr. Christian Bökel, Stem Cell Niches in Drosophila, Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.

Former associates

Gosia Poczopko (PhD)

Germain Toubol (Internship)

Janine Tittel (PhD)

Hetvi Gandhi (PhD)

Kristina Kurgonaite (PhD)

Paul Müller (Diploma)

Remigiusz Worch (Postdoc)

Benjamin Obermann (Diploma)

Robert Weinmeister (Diploma)

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