Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences
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Jahn, Reinhard, Prof. Dr.

Professor, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

  • Dr. rer. nat., University of Göttingen, Germany, 1981

  • Assistant Professor, The Rockefeller University, New York, USA, 1985

  • Junior Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Martinsried, Germany, 1986

  • Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Cell Biology, Yale University, and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New Haven, USA, 1991

  • Professor of Pharmacology and Cell Biology, Yale University, New Haven, 1995

  • Director of the Department of Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany, 1997

  • Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine,New Haven, USA 1997-2001

  • Adjunct Professor of Biology, University of Göttingen, Germany, 2001

Major Research Interests

Our group is interested in the mechanisms of membrane fusion, with the main emphasis on regulated exocytosis in neurons. Intracellular membrane fusion events are mediated by a set of conserved membrane proteins, termed SNAREs. For fusion to occur, complementary sets of SNAREs need to be present on both of the fusing membranes, which then assemble in a zipper-like fashion to initiate membrane merger. The neuronal SNAREs are among the best characterized. They are the targets of the toxins responsible for botulism and tetanus, and they are regulated by several addtional proteins including synaptotagmin, the calcium sensor for neurotransmitter release. To understand how these proteins mediate fusion, we study their properties in vitro with biochemical and biophysical approaches using native and artificial membranes.
In a second set of projects, we use modern techniques such as quantitative proteomics to better understand supramolecular protein complexes involved in synaptic function. Using our quantitative description of synaptic vesicles as point of departure we aim at unraveling presynaptic protein networks involved in synaptic vesicle docking and fusion. Furthermore, we are studying regulation of presynaptic function by small GTPases and by protein phosphorylation.

Homepage Department/Research Group


Selected Recent Publications

  • Ryo, J.-K., Min, D., Rah, S.-H., Kim, S.J., Park, Y., Kim, H., Kim, H.-M., Jahn, R*., Yoon, T.-Y.* (2015) Spring-loaded unraveling of a single SNARE complex by NSF in one round of ATP turnover. Science, 347, 1485-1489 (*corresponding authors)

  • Binotti, B., Pavlos, N.J., Riedel, D., Wenzel, D., Vorbrüggen, G., Schalk, A.M., Kühnel, K., Boyken, J., Erck, C., Martens, H., Chua, J.J.E., Jahn, R. (2015) The GTPase Rab26 links synaptic vesicles to the autophagy pathway. eLife 4, e05597

  • Honigmann A, van den Bogaart G, Iraheta E, Risselada JH, Milovanovic D, Mueller V, Muellar S, Diederichsen U, Fasshauer D, Grubmüller H, Hell SW, Eggeling C, Kühnel K, Jahn R (2013) Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate clusters act as molecular beacons for vesicle recruitment. Nature Struct Mol Biol 20, 679–686

  • Park Y, Hernandez JM, van den Bogaart G, Ahmed S, Holt M, Riedel D, Jahn R (2012) Controlling synaptotagmin activity by electrostatic screening. Nature Struct Mol Biol 19, 991-997

  • Jahn R, Fasshauer D (2012) Exocytosis of synaptic vesicles – molecular machines, calcium, and beyond (review). Nature, 490(7419):201-7

  • Hernandez JM, Stein A, Behrmann E, Riedel D, Cypionka A, Farsi Z, Walla PJ, Raunser S, Jahn R (2012) Membrane fusion intermediates via directional and full assembly of the SNARE complex. Science 336, 1581-1584

  • Chua JJ, Butkevich E, Worseck JM, Kittelmann M, Gronborg M, Behrmann E, Stelzl U, Pavlos NJ, Lalowski M, Eimer S, Wanker EE, Klopfenstein DR*, Jahn R* (2012) Phosphorylation-regulated axonal dependent transport of syntaxin 1 is mediated by a Kinesin-1 adapter. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109, 5862-5867

  • van den Bogaart G, Meyenberg K, Risselada JH, Amin H, Willig KI, Hubrich BE, Dier M, Hell SW, Grubmüller H, Diederichsen U, Jahn R (2011) Membrane protein sequestering by ionic protein-lipid interactions. Nature 479, 552-555

Jahn, Reinhard


Prof. Dr. Reinhard Jahn
Max Planck Institute
for Biophysical Chemistry
Dept. of Neurobiology
Am Fassberg 11
37077 Göttingen

phone: +49-(0)551-201 1635
fax: +49-(0)551-201 1639
email: rjahn@gwdg.de

GGNB Affiliation
Molecular Biology (IMPRS)
Neurosciences (IMPRS)
Biomolecules: Structure - Function -
Dynamics (GZMB)

Molecular Biology of Cells (GZMB)
Molecular Physiology of the Brain (C

Physics of Biological and Complex S
ystems (IMPRS)