The Department of Molecules – Signaling – Development at the MPI of Neurobiology (Rüdiger Klein) is interested in understanding the principles of cell-cell communication in the developing and mature nervous system, as well as molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection. In recent years, the group has investigated the functions of endogenous neurotrophic factors and their receptors and explored their potential to prevent neurodegeneration in models of Parkinson’s disease. In the frame of the TOPAG project, we are working with primary neuronal culture models and also developing new mouse models of human diseases to study how protein deposits develop in a living organism, why they are harmful to nerve cells, and which mechanisms are used by the cells to reduce the accumulation of damaged proteins. To reveal the common mechanisms of toxicity induced by different types of aggregates, we compare the aggregates formed by natural neurodegenerative disease-causing proteins and by rationally designed artificial proteins. In addition, we investigate the status of the cellular defense systems in mouse models at different stages of disease.
More information: www.neuro.mpg.de/klein