Jahn, Reinhard, Prof. Dr.

Professor, Emeritus Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences, Göttingen

  • 1981 Dr. rer. nat., University of Göttingen, Germany
  • 1985 Assistant Professor, The Rockefeller University, New York, USA
  • 1986 Junior Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Martinsried, Germany
  • 1991 Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Cell Biology, Yale University, and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New Haven, USA
  • 1995 Professor of Pharmacology and Cell Biology, Yale University, New Haven
  • 1997 Director of the Department of Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen
  • 1997-2001 Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine,New Haven, USA
  • 2001 Adjunct Professor of Biology, University of Göttingen
  • 2019 Emeritus Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen
  • 2020 President of the University of Göttingen
  • 2021 Emeritus Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen

Major Research Interests

Our group is interested in the mechanisms of membrane fusion, with the main emphasis on regulated exocytosis in neurons. Intracellular membrane fusion events are mediated by a set of conserved membrane proteins, termed SNAREs. For fusion to occur, complementary sets of SNAREs need to be present on both of the fusing membranes, which then assemble in a zipper-like fashion to initiate membrane merger. The neuronal SNAREs are among the best characterized. They are the targets of the toxins responsible for botulism and tetanus, and they are regulated by several addtional proteins including synaptotagmin, the calcium sensor for neurotransmitter release. To understand how these proteins mediate fusion, we study their properties in vitro with biochemical and biophysical approaches using native and artificial membranes.
In a second set of projects, we are interested in the mechanisms by which synaptic vesicles sequester and store neurotransmitters. Uptake is mediated by specific vesicular neurotransmitter transporters that are energized by an electrochemical proton gradient across the membrane. Presently we aim for a better understanding of the transport mechanisms using a variety of biochemical and biophysical approaches including imaging of single vesicles. Finally, we use quantitative proteomics to better understand how the presynaptic protein network contributes to the regulation of synaptic release, focusing on protein phosphorylation.

Homepage Department/Research Group


Selected Recent Publications

  • Witkowska A, Heinz LP, Grubmüller H, Jahn R (2021) Tight docking of membranes before fusion represents a novel, metastable state with unique properties. Nature Comm. 14: 3606

  • Koike S, Jahn R (2019) SNAREs define targeting specificity of trafficking vesicles by combinatorial interaction with tethering factors. Nature Comm., 10, 1608

  • Jakhanwal S, Lee CT, Urlaub H, Jahn R (2017) An activated Q-SNARE/SM protein complex as a possible intermediate in SNARE assembly. EMBO J. 36, 1788-1802

  • Farsi Z, Preobraschenski J, van den Bogaart G, Riedel D, Jahn R, Woehler A (2016) Single-vesicle imaging reveals different transport mechanisms between glutamatergic and GABAergic vesicles. Science, 351, 981-984

  • Ryo JK, Min D, Rah SH, Kim SJ, Park Y, Kim H, Kim HM, Jahn R, Yoon TY (2015) Spring-loaded unraveling of a single SNARE complex by NSF in one round of ATP turnover. Science, 347, 1485-1489

  • Par Y, Seo JB, Fraind A, Perez-Lara A, Yavuz H, Han K, Jung SR, Kattan I, Walla PJ, Choi MY, Cafiso DS, Koh D, Jahn R (2015) Synaptotagmin-1 binds to PI(4,5)P2-containing membranes but not to SNAREs in a physiological ionic environment. Nature Struct. Mol. Biol., 10, 815-823