Dresbach, Thomas, Prof. Dr.

Professor of Anatomy

  • Dr.rer.nat. (Biology), 1996, University of Bonn
  • DFG research fellow and postdoctoral Fellow with E. Gundelfinger at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, 1997- 2003
  • Teacher and independent research group leader at the University of Heidelberg, Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology (Dept. Prof. Dr. J. Kirsch), 2003-2010
  • Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Göttingen, 2010

Major Research Interests

Our group studies synapse formation with particular focus on the biogenesis of presynaptic nerve terminals. Our goal is to understand the mechanisms of synaptogenesis in enough detail to pinpoint molecular causes of synaptopathies. We study neuronal cultures to unravel fundamental mechanisms operating at the heart of synaptogenesis, and we have begun to study specialized synapses such as the giant synapses of the mammalian auditory system to determine how these mechanisms act together to generate the remarkable specification and heterogeneity of synapses in the brain.

Using live imaging, molecular biological and ultrastructural approaches, we currently analyze
- the role of novel, vertebrate-specific presynaptic proteins in synaptic function
- the trafficking and assembly of synaptic organelles and protein complexes
- the transsynaptic signalling events controlling presynaptic differentiation.
These efforts should help us understand both the common principles by which the various types of synapses are generated, and how they are fine-tuned for specific tasks, such as a particular strength, reliability or adaptivity.

Homepage Department/Research Group

Selected Recent Publications

  • Stan A, Pielarski K N, Brigadski T, Wittenmayer N, Fedorchenko O, Gohla A, Lessmann V, Dresbach T, Gottmann K (2010) Essential co-operation of N-Cadherin and Neuroligin-1 in the transsynaptic control of vesicle accumulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107, 11116-21
  • Wittenmayer N, Korber C, Liu H, Kremer T, Varoqueaux F, Chapman ER, Brose N, Kuner T, Dresbach T (2009) Postsynaptic Neuroligin1 regulates presynaptic maturation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106:13564-13569.
  • Fairless R, Masius H, Rohlmann A, Heupel K, Ahmad M, Reissner C, Dresbach T, Missler M (2008) Polarized targeting of neurexins to synapses is regulated by their C-terminal sequences. J Neurosci 28:12969-12981.
  • Tsuriel S, Fischer A, Wittenmayer N, Dresbach T, Garner CC, Ziv NE (2008) Exchange and redistribution dynamics of the cytoskeleton of the active zone molecule Bassoon. J Neurosci 29:351-358
  • Kremer T, Kempf C, Wittenmayer N, Nawrotzki R, Kuner T, Kirsch J, Dresbach T (2007) Mover is a novel vertebrate-specific presynaptic protein with differential distribution at subsets of CNS synapses. FEBS Lett 581:4727-4733.
  • Dresbach T, Torres V, Wittenmayer N, Altrock WD, Zamorano P, Zuschratter W, Nawrotzki R, Ziv NE, Garner CC, Gundelfinger ED (2006) Assembly of active zone precursor vesicles: obligatory trafficking of presynaptic cytomatrix proteins Bassoon and Piccolo via a trans-Golgi compartment. J Biol Chem 281:6038-6047.