Wintermeyer, Wolfgang, Prof. Dr.

Professor of Molecular Biology, Max-Planck-Fellow/Group leader


  • Studies of Chemistry, LMU München, 1962-1969; Grade Dipl.-Chem.
  • Dr. rer. nat., LMU München, 1972

  • Scientific career
  • Research Assistant, LMU München, 1972-1982
  • Dr. med. habil., LMU München, 1979
  • Heisenberg-Fellow, 1982-1987
  • Associate Professor, LMU München, 1985
  • Full Professor for Molecular Biology, University of Witten/Herdecke, 1987-2009
  • Dean Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Witten/Herdecke, 1991-2007
  • Professor emeritus and Max-Planck-Fellow, 2009

  • Major Research Interests

    Research interests of the group are focused on various aspects of ribosomal protein synthesis. We are studying the functions of GTPases on the ribosome, in particular of elongation factor G (EF-G). EF-G has two distinct functions in protein synthesis: it catalyzes the translocation of tRNA on the ribosome and, together with ribosome recycling factor (RRF), promotes the dissociation of the ribosome into subunits (“ribosome recycling”) after the termination of protein synthesis. We are working on the molecular mechanisms of both processes. One major question is how the energy of GTP hydrolysis and release of inorganic phosphate is coupled to conformational rearrangements of the ribosome. In another project we are examining the function of the signal recognition particle (SRP) in the biosynthesis of proteins to be inserted into the bacterial plasma membrane. SRP binds to ribosomes translating membrane proteins and, by an interaction with the SRP receptor, targets those ribosomes to the translocation pore in the membrane. We are studying the interactions between these components and the role of GTP hydrolysis by SRP and the SRP receptor in the targeting process. We use methods of biochemistry and molecular biology as well as biophysical methods, such as fluorescence spectroscopy (FRET), rapid kinetics (stopped flow, quench flow), isothermal calorimetry, single-molecule fluorescence and others.

    Homepage Department/Research Group

    Selected Recent Publications

    • Kuhlenkoetter, S., Wintermeyer W., Rodnina M.V (2011) Different substrate-dependent transition states in the active site of the ribosome. Nature 476, 351-354.

    • Rodnina, M.V., and Wintermeyer W. (2011) The ribosome as a molecular machine: The mechanism of tRNA-mRNA movement in translocation. Biochemical Society Transactions 39, 658 - 662.

    • Fischer, N., Konevega, A.L. Wintermeyer W., Rodnina M.V., Stark H. (2010) Ribosome dynamics and tRNA movement by time-resolved electron cryomicroscopy. Nature 466, 329-333.

    • Savelsbergh A, Rodnina MV, Wintermeyer W (2009) Distinct functions of elon-gation factor G in ribosome recycling and translocation. RNA 15, 772-780

    • Buskiewicz IA, Jöckel J, Rodnina MV, Wintermeyer W (2009) Conformation of the signal recognition particle in ribosomal targeting complexes. RNA 15, 44-54

    • Bornemann T, Jöckel J, Rodnina MV, Wintermeyer W (2008) Signal sequence-independent membrane targeting of ribosomes containing short nascent peptides within the exit tunnel. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 15, 494-499