P6: Does cGKI – through BK channels in the nuclear envelope – counteract activity-dependent acquired neuroprotection?


To define the role of cGKI-driven BK channels in the nuclear envelope of hippocampal neurons as regulators of nucleoplasmic [Ca2+] and transcriptional activity.

Questions and Methods

cGKI and Neuroprotection

Boston Internship

Roberts Lab

During the visit of the Roberts lab in Boston, the students will profit from its immense experience in examining nuclear cGKI function. This includes using

  1. wide-field imaging and statistical modeling to localize proteins within sub-cellular compartments, such as the nucleus and endomembrane system, and
  2. nuclear cGKI-regulated control of signaling using a genetically-encoded nuclear phospho-CREB biosensor probe and molecular imaging techniques.

Boston Co-mentor

Assoc. Prof. Jesse D. Roberts, MD

Link to Boston researcher lab

Doctoral Students

Thomas Pham

Thomas Pham studied Pharmacy at the University of Tübingen and earned his approbation as a pharmacist in 2017. After his practical year in a pharmacy and pharmaceutical industry, he decided to discover the field of research, and therefore completed his Master's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies in the Lukowski Lab with a focus on the CNS. His interest in cellular signaling pathways inspired him to do his doctoral studies as part of the GRK 2381, where he investigates in the group of Peter Ruth the interaction of the BK channel and the cGMP signaling pathway in the nucleus to evaluate its impact on neuroprotection.

Tamara Hussein

Tamara studied Biochemistry at the Goethe-University of Frankfurt, Germany. During her Bachelor´s thesis at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysics, she focused on the determination of open- and closed states of Channelrhodopsin-2 using electrophysiological measurements especially. Subsequently, she completed her master's degree in biochemistry in Frankfurt with a focus on biochemical physics. Tamara did her master´s thesis at the Institute for Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy in Frankfurt, where she worked on the function of HCN3 ion channels in somatosensory processing. There, she broadened her knowledge on neuroscience and decided to continue as a PhD student in the laboratory of Peter Ruth in Tübingen. As part of the GRK 2381, she aims to define the role of cGKI- driven BK channels in the nuclear envelope of hippocampal neurons and its impact on neuroprotection.

Janina Brückner (associated PhD student)

Janina studied biology at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Germany. She completed her bachelor and master theses in the Department of Zoology and Neurobiology, where she investigated the neuronal connectivity of the gustatory circuit in Drosophila melanogaster. In her master's program, Janina focused on neuroscience and deepened her interests and knowledge in this field. Subsequently, she decided to start her PhD in the group of Dr. Lucas Matt at the Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Tübingen. Here she currently explores the metabolic functions of hypothalamic potassium channels and their impact on diet-induced obesity.

Key Publications

Föller M, Jaumann M, Dettling J, Saxena A, Pakladok T, Munoz C, Ruth P, Sopjani M, Seebohm G, Rüttiger L, Knipper M, Lang F. AMP-activated protein kinase in BK-channel regulation and protection against hearing loss following acoustic overstimulation. FASEB J. 2012;26:4243-53

Frankenreiter S, Bednarczyk P, Kniess A, Bork N, Straubinger J, Koprowski P, Wrzosek A, Mohr E, Logan A, Murphy MP, Gawaz M, Krieg T, Szewczyk A, Nikolaev VO, Ruth P, Lukowski R. cGMP-elevating compounds and ischemic conditioning provide cardioprotection against ischemia and reperfusion injury via cardiomyocyte-specific BK channels. Circulation. 2017;doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.028723