Neher, Erwin, Prof. Dr.#

Professor Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences

  • 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 (1983 - 2011)

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 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. We recently developed techniques to express mutated synaptic proteins in the Calyx terminal, such that the functional role of specific molecules can be studied on the single-cell level.

Homepage Department/Research Group

Selected Recent Publications

  • Haucke V Neher E, Sigrist SJ (2011) Protein scaffolds in the coupling of synaptic exocytosis and endocytosis. Nature Rev Neurosci 12: 127-138
  • Mohrmann R, de Wit H, Verhage,M, Neher E, Soerensen JB (2010) Fast vesicle fusion in living cells requires at least three SNARE complexes. Science 330: 502-505
  • 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