Klopfenstein, Dieter, Dr.

  • Dr. phil. nat. (Ph.D.) University of Basel, 1999
  • Postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Francisco, 1999 - 2003
  • Since 2003 head of an independent Junior Research Group

Major Research Interests

The long-range transport of membrane organelles in neurons depends primarily upon microtubules and motor proteins that move unidirectionally along these tracks. One type of microtubule-based motor proteins powering membrane transport is the kinesin superfamily. We are interested in how these motors achieve specificity in cargo binding, elicit membrane transport, and the regulation of transport activity. One example of a kinesin motor is UNC-104/KIF1A, which specifically transports presynaptic vesicle to the synaptic terminal and binds with its tail domain directly to membrane lipids in vitro. This unique cargo-interaction mechanism help us to understand how lipids and their membrane environment contribute to cargo transport, how motor-lipid interaction could be regulating transport, and how accessory proteins contribute to membrane motility. Using fluorescently tagged motor and vesicle markers we investigate these questions in the nervous system of the nematode C. elegans serves us as a model system for microscopic tools (confocal, TIRF, FRET FLIM) and biochemical transport assays in vitro.

Homepage Department/Research Group


Selected Recent Publications

  • High-resolution mapping of intracellular fluctuations using carbon nanotubes. Fakhri N, Wessel AD, Willms C, Pasquali M, Klopfenstein DR, MacKintosh FC, Schmidt CF. Science. 2014 344(6187):1031-5
  • Chua JJ, Butkevich E, Worseck JM, Kittelmann M, Gronborg M, Behrmann E, Stelzl U, Pavlos NJ, Lalowski M, Eimer S, Wanker EE, Klopfenstein DR, Jahn R (2012) Phosphorylation-regulated axonal dependent transport of syntaxin 1 is mediated by a Kinesin-1 adapter. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(15): 5862-7
  • Gerson-Gurwitz A, Thiede C, Movshovich N, Fridman V, Podolskaya M, Danieli T, Lakämper S, Klopfenstein DR, Schmidt CF, Gheber L (2011) Directionality of individual kinesin-5 Cin8 motors is modulated by loop 8, ionic strength and microtubule geometry. EMBO J 30(24), 4942-54
  • Kumar J, Chowdhary B., Metpally R, Ramanathan S, Zheng Q, Nonet ML, Klopfenstein DR, Koushika SP (2010) The C. elegans kinesin motor UNC-104 is degraded upon loss of specific binding to cargo. PLoS Genetics 6(11), e1001200.
  • Krahn MP, Klopfenstein DR, Fischer N, Wodarz A (2010) Membrane targeting of Bazooka/PAR-3 is mediated by direct binding to phosphoinositide lipids. Curr Biol 20(7), 636-42.
  • Wagner OI, Esposito A, Wouters F, Shen K, Wenzel D, Klopfenstein DR. (2009) Active zone protein SYD-2/liprin-alpha regulates kinesin UNC-104/KIF1A motility and motor clustering along axons. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106(46), 19605-10.