Sensory Research in Göttingen

Neher, Erwin, Prof. Dr.

Professor, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
- M.Sc. (Physics), University of Wisconsin, 1967
- Dr.rer.nat. (Physics), Institute of Technology, Munich, 1970
- Research associate at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, 1972 - 1975 and 1976 - 1982, and as a guest in the laboratory of Dr. Ch.F. Stevens at Yale University, Dept. of Physiology, New Haven, Conn., 1975 - 1976
- Fairchild Scholar, California Institute of Technology; Pasadena, USA, 1989
- Director of the Membrane Biophysics Department at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany, since 1983

Major Research Interests

Molecular Mechanisms of Exocytosis, Neurotransmitter Release, and Short Term Synaptic Plasticity

In order to understand how the brain handles its information flow and adjusts synaptic connections on the second and subsecond timescale, one has to understand all aspects of synaptic transmission ranging from availability of vesicles for exocytosis, presynaptic electrophysiology, Ca++ signalling, the process of exocytosis, and postsynaptic neurotransmitter action. Our work concentrates on presynaptic aspects. We study the basic mechanisms of exocytosis, using adrenal chromaffin cells as a model system and the patch-clamp method. This work, in which intracellular Ca++ is manipulated (caged Ca++) and measured on the single cell level aims at understanding the role of specific synaptic proteins in the maturation and exocytosis of secretory vesicles. We use neuronal cell cultures and brain slices for studying mechanisms of short term plasticity, such as depression and paired pulse facilitation. The Calyx of Held, a specialized synapse in the auditory pathway, offers unique possibilities for simultaneous pre- and postsynaptic voltage clamping. This allows a quantitative analysis of the relationship between [Ca++] and transmitter release.

Homepage Department/Research Group:

Selected Recent Publications

- Neher RA, Mitkovski M, Kirchhoff F, Neher E, Theis FJ, Zeug A (2009) Blind source separation techniques for the decomposition of multiply labeled fluorescence images. Biophys J 96:3791-3800.

- Young S Jr, Neher E (2009) Synaptotagmin has an essential function in synaptic vesicle positioning for synchronous release in addition to its role as a calcium sensor. Neuron 63:482-496.

- Neher E, Sakaba T (2008) Multiple roles of calcium ions in the regulation of neurotransmitter release. Neuron 59:861-872.

- Sakaba T, Stein A, Jahn R, Neher E (2005) Distinct kinetic changes in neurotransmitter release after SNARE protein cleavage. Science 309:491-494.

- Sakaba T, Neher E (2003) Direct modulation of synaptic vesicle priming by GABAB receptor activation at a glutamatergic synapse. Nature 424:775-778.

- Soerensen J, Nagy G, Varoqueaux F, Nehring RB, Brose N, Wilson MC, Neher E (2003) Differential control of the releasable vesicle pools by SNAP-23. Cell 114:75-86.

- Rettig J, Neher E (2002) Emerging roles of presynaptic proteins in Ca++-triggered exocytosis. Science 298:781-785.

- Schneggenburger R, Neher E (2000) Intracellular calcium dependence of transmitter release rates at a fast central synapse. Nature 406:889-893.