Pieler, Tomas, Prof. Dr.

Professor of Biochemistry

  • Dr. rer. nat. Biochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin, 1984
  • Guest Investigator, Rockefeller University, New York (1985/86)
  • Heisenberg fellow, Freie Universität Berlin and Rockefeller University, New York (1986/87)
  • Junior group leader, Max Planck Institut für Molekulare Genetik, Berlin (1988 - 92)
  • Professor of Biochemistry, Georg August Universität Göttingen since 1992

Major Research Interests

The differentiation of complex organisms has its origin in the asymmetric distribution of regulatory proteins or of the corresponding mRNAs in the egg, as well as in a complex system of cell/cell communication events via extracellular signalling molecules during early stages of embryogenesis. The genes that encode for these different activities form functional networks which provide the basis for the genetic programming of embryonic development. Our primary research interest is in the identification of such regulatory genes and networks in vertebrates, as well as in the definition of their regulation and function on the molecular level. For this purpose, we use Xenopus laevis, a frog from South Africa, as a model system. As a traditional object in experimental embryology and in comparison with other experimental systems such as the mouse, use of Xenopus offers a number of practical advantages. Oocytes and embryos are easy to collect in large numbers, they are easy to manipulate by relatively simple techniques, also because embryonic development proceeds in the petridish, and, more recently, it has even become possible to generate hundreds of transgenic frogs within a single experimental day. The research topics that we are focussing on are:

* Transport and function of vegetally localized maternal mRNAs
* Organogenesis: formation of pancreas and liver in vertebrate embryos
* Early neural development: primary neurogenesis
* Germ cell specification and migration

Homepage Department/Research Group


Selected Recent Publications

  • Afelik S, Chen Y, Pieler T (2006) Combined ectopic expression of Pdx1 and Ptfa/ p48 results in the stable conversion of posterior endoderm into endo- and exocrine pancreatic tissue. Genes Dev 20, 1441-1446.
  • Souopgui J, Rust B, Vanhomwegen J, Heasman J, Henningfeld KA, Bellefroid E, Pieler T (2008) The RNA-binding protein XSeb4R: a positive regulator of VegT mRNA stability and translation that is required for germ layer formation in Xenopus. Genes Dev 22(17), 2347-52.
  • Arthur PK, Claussen M, Koch S, Tarbashevich K, Jahn O, Pieler T (2009) Participation of Xenopus Elr-type proteins in vegetal mRNA localization during oogenesis. J Biol Chem 284(30), 19982-92.
  • Koebernick K, Löber J, Arthur P, Tarbashevich K, Pieler T (2010) Elr-type proteins protect Xenopus Dead end mRNA from miR-18-mediated clearance in the soma. Proc Nat Acad Sci 107, 16148-16153.
  • Tarbashevich K, Dzementsei A, Pieler T (2011) A novel function for KiF13B in germ cell migration. Dev Biol 349, 169-178.