Kessel, Michael, Prof. Dr.

Professor of Molecular Biology

  • Until 1981 Biochemical Institute, Kiel University
  • 1981 -1983 National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda,USA
  • 1983 -1986 Center for Molecular Biology (ZMBH), Heidelberg University
  • Since 1987 Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen

Major Research Interests

The group is interested in the coordination between cell cycle and developmental control processes in mice. We apply biochemical, genetic and embryological techniques.

We previously identified the Geminin protein as a mediator between cell cycle progression and the control of axial specification. Studying a conditional mouse knock-out model we found that Geminin is essential for the first cell divisions in murine embryos, but not later in development. Geminin is necessary for the establishment, growth and maintenance of pluripotent embryonic stem cells.

We further analyzed the Mad2l2 protein, a subunit of translesion DNA polymerase zeta and potential regulator of the cell cycle. We discovered an essential role of Mad2l2 for germ cell development during early embryogenesis, and during the generation of primordial germ cells from embryonic stem cells in culture. In the absence of Mad2l2 the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells becomes destabilized, and they differentiate into primitive endoderm.

We recently identified how the six microRNAs of the miR449/miR34 family function during ciliogenesis. By downregulating the expression of Cp110, they are required for the docking of basal bodies in the plasma membrane.

Homepage Department/Research Group

Selected Recent Publications

  • Song, R., Walentek, P., Sponer, N., Klimke, A., Lee, JS, Dixon, G., Harland, R., Wan, Y., Lishko, P., Lize, M., Kessel, M., and He, L. (2014) miR-34/449 miRNAs promote motile ciliogenesis through direct regulation of Cp110 in multiciliated airway cells. Nature 510: 115-120
  • Pirouz, M., Pilarski, S. and Kessel M. (2013) A critical function of Mad2l2 in primordial germ cell development of mice. PLOS Genetics 9, 8, e1003712
  • Tabrizi, G.A., Böse K., Reimann, Y. and Kessel, M. (2013) Geminin is required for the maintenance of pluripotency. Plos One 8, 9, e73826
  • Asli NS, Kessel M (2010) Spatiotemporally restricted regulation of generic motor
    neuron programs by miR-196-mediated repression of Hoxb8. Dev Biol 344: 857-868
  • Pitulescu ME, Teichmann M, Luo L, Kessel M (2009) TIPT2 and geminin interact
    with basal transcription factors to synergize in transcriptional regulation. BMC
    Biochem 10: 16
  • Luo L, Yang X, Takihara Y, Knoetgen H, Kessel M (2004) The cell-cycle regulator geminin inhibits Hox function through direct and polycomb-mediated interactions. Nature 427: 749-53