Richter-Dennerlein, Ricarda, Prof. Dr.

Research group leader at the Department of Cellular Biochemistry

  • 2011: PhD at the Newcastle University (UK), Institute for Ageing and Health
  • 2011 - 2014: Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cologne, Institute for Genetics (EMBO long-term fellowship)
  • 2014 - 2016: Postdoctoral fellow at the University Medical Center Göttingen, Department of Cellular Biochemistry
  • since 2016: Emmy-Noether research group leader at the University Medical Center Göttingen, Department of Cellular Biochemistry

Major Research Interests

The assembly pathway of the mammalian mitochondrial ribosome

Mitochondria, which fulfill many essential roles within the cell, still contain their own genome (mtDNA). However, the expression of mtDNA-encoded proteins depends on factors encoded by the nuclear genome. Defects in these factors lead to severe mitochondrial diseases in human. This is also true for the mitochondrial ribosomal proteins, which need to be imported into mitochondria, where they assemble with mtDNA-encoded ribosomal RNAs.
We are interested in how the mammalian mitochondrial ribosome assembles from components of dual genetic origin. Although the mitochondrial ribosome derived from a bacterial ancestor, there are substantial differences in structure and composition. Therefore it is reasonable to speculate that the assembly pathways comparing bacterial and mammalian mitochondrial ribosomes vary as well. Our analyses will also help us to understand the diverse clinical presentations of the growing group of patients with mutations in genes encoding for mitochondrial ribosomal proteins.

Homepage Department/Research Group

Selected Recent Publications

  • Richter-Dennerlein, R., Oeljeklaus, S., Lorenzi, I., Ronsör, C., Bareth, B., Schendzielorz, A. B., Wang, C., Warscheid, B., Rehling, P., and Dennerlein, S. (2016). Mitochondrial protein synthesis adapts to influx of nuclear-encoded protein. Cell 167, 471-483.
  • König, T., Tröder, S.E., Bakka, K., Korwitz, A., Richter-Dennerlein, R., Lampe, P.A., Patron, M., Mühlmeister, M., Guerrero-Castillo, S., Brandt, U., Decker, T., Lauria, I., Rizzuto, R., Rugarli, E.I., De Stefani, D., and Langer, T. (2016). The m-AAA Protease Associated with Neurodegeneration Limits MCU Activity in Mitochondria. Mol. Cell 64, 148-162.
  • Richter-Dennerlein, R., Dennerlein, S., and Rehling, P. (2015). Integrating mitochondrial translation into the cellular context. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 16, 586-592.
  • Richter-Dennerlein, R., Korwitz, A., Haag, M., Tatsuta, T., Dargazanli, S., Baker, M., Decker, T., Lamkemeyer, T., Rugarli, E.I., and Langer, T. (2014). DNAJC19, a Mitochondrial Cochaperone Associated with Cardiomyopathy, Forms a Complex with Prohibitins to Regulate Cardiolipin Remodeling. Cell Metabolism 20, 158-171.
  • Almajan, E.R., Richter, R., Paeger, L., Martinelli, P., Barth, E., Decker, T., Larsson, N.-G., Kloppenburg, P., Langer, T., and Rugarli, E.I. (2012). AFG3L2 supports mitochondrial protein synthesis and Purkinje cell survival. J. Clin. Invest. 122, 4048-4058.
  • Richter, R., Rorbach, J., Pajak, A., Smith, P.M., Wessels, H.J., Huynen, M.A., Smeitink, J.A., Lightowlers, R.N., and Chrzanowska-Lightowlers, Z.M. (2010). A functional peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase, ICT1, has been recruited into the human mitochondrial ribosome. Embo J. 29, 1116-1125.
  • Temperley, R.*, Richter, R.*, Dennerlein, S., Lightowlers, R.N., and Chrzanowska-Lightowlers, Z.M. (2010). Hungry codons promote frameshifting in human mitochondrial ribosomes. Science 327, 301. (* These authors contributed equally to this work.)