Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of Life Sciences … Fellows Kerstin Krieglstein

Kerstin Krieglstein

Internal Senior Fellow
October 2010 - October 2012

Freiburg University
Department of Molecular Embryology
Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Albertstr. 17
79104 Freiburg im Breisgau

Tel. +49 761 203 5087


Kerstin Krieglstein is professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Embryology at the School of Medicine, Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg. She is married to Klaus Unsicker and has two children, Christine and Sebastian.

She studied chemistry and pharmacy at the Universities of Marburg and Munich, and after an experimental dissertation in protein chemistry and pharmacology, continued her post-doc in molecular biology and biochemistry at the University of California in Irvine, USA, and in neuroanatomy and cell biology at Marburg and Heidelberg. Following the state doctorate (Habilitation) in anatomy and cell biology in 1997 in Heidelberg, she became a Heisenberg-fellow of the DFG in 1998 and was recruited as an associate professor (C3) for anatomy at the University of Saarland in 1999 and full professor (C4) and head of the department of neuroanatomy at the University of Göttingen in 2001. During this period Kerstin Krieglstein was a founding member of the DFG Center of Excellence Molecular Physiology of the Brain (2002) and was acting as a scientific research coordinator of “Developmental Neuroscience” and as a stearing committee member until 2007.

In 2006 she received a call as professor of anatomy and head of the Dept. of Molecular Embryology, which she accepted in 2007. Since 2009 Kerstin Krieglstein is also acting as a chair of the Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology.

Kerstin Krieglstein is a scientific advisor to the German Research Foundation DFG, acting as a raporteur of the graduate programme, the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, BMBF. She is a scientific board member of the Center of Excellence of Neurosciences, Helsinki, of the Finish Academy of Sciences (since 2008) , and of the Max-Delbrück Center (since 2009).

She has been distinguished by many awards, both nationally and internationally. In 1999 she was awarded the Bargmann-Prize of the Anatomical Society, and in 2000 the Saar-LB Prize for excellent science. In 2007 she was elected as a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

Research Focus

Growth factors in nervous system development: induction and specification of neuronal phenotypes, regulation of neuron survival, ontogentic cell death, synaptogenesis, functions, signaling and contextual actions of TGF-ß and related proteins


FRIAS Project

Programmed cell death (PCD) is essential for the development of the nervous system and for its maintenance. Development in the absence of PCD leads to gross brain abnormalities, ectopic cell masses (exencephaly) and increased embryonic lethality. There are two fundamentally different ways by which PCD occurs in the developing nervous system: stereotyped cell death, i.e. predetermined by lineage, and a cell death mode resulting from competition for a limiting factor. The latter has been frequently referred to as stochastic cell death. The stereotyped cell death is found in the developing nervous system of C. elegans embryos, whereas stochastic cell death has traditionally been associated with vertebrates. As reasons for the stochastic cell death, error correction and adjustment of connectivity by matching target size and innervation are the most generally accepted ideas. With the advent of several new tools and technologies including the knowledge of the chick genome chick embryos returned to become a unique model system to study fundamental questions in development in vivo. We will perform a systematic analysis of the PCD in nervous system development to determine the molecular network specifying and initiating cell death in ciliary ganglionic and spinal motoneurons in vivo.


Selected Publications

  1. B. Spittau, L. Wullkopf, X. Zhou, J. Rilka, D. Pfeifer, K. Krieglstein: Endogenous transforming growth factor-beta promotes quiescence of primary microglia in vitro. Glia, 2012.
  2. X. Zhou, B. Spittau, K. Krieglstein: TGFbeta signalling plays an important role in IL4-induced alternative activation of microglia. J Neuroinflamm, 2012; 9 (1), 210.
  3. A.J. Kunwar, M. Rickmann, B. Backofen, S.M. Browski, K. Krieglstein, G.F. von Mollard (2011) Lack of the endosomal SNAREs vti1a and vti1b led to significant impairments in neuronal development. P Natl Acad Sci Usa 108 (6): 2575-2580
  4. N. Osterberg, M. Wiehle, O. Oehlke, S. Heidrich, C. Xu, K. Krieglstein, E. Roussa (2011) Sim1 Is a Novel Regulator in the Differentiation of Mouse Dorsal Raphe Serotonergic Neurons. Plos One 6 (4): e19239
  5. K. Krieglstein, F. Zheng, K. Unsicker, C. Alzheimer (2011) More than being protective: functional roles for TGF-ß/activin signaling pathways at central synapses. Trends Neurosci. 34 (8): 421-429
  6. Vogel T, Ahrens S, Buttner N, Krieglstein K (2010) Transforming Growth Factor-beta Promotes Neuronal Cell Fate of Mouse Cortical and Hippocampal Progenitors In Vitro and In Vivo: Identification of Nedd9 as an Essential Signaling Component. Cerebral Cortex 20, 661-671
  7. Schulz R, Vogel T, Mashima T, Tsuruo T, Krieglstein K (2009) Involvement of Fractin in TGF-β-induced apoptosis in oligodendroglial progenitor cells. Glia 57, 1619-1629
  8. Roussa, Oehlke O, Rahhal B, Heermann S, Heidrich S, Wiehle M, Krieglstein K (2008) TGF- co-operates with Persephin for dopaminergic phenotype induction. Stem Cells 26, 1683-1694
  9. Roussa E, Wiehle M, Dünker N, Becker-Katins S, Oehlke O, Krieglstein K (2006) Transforming growth factor beta is required for differentiation of mouse mesencephalic progenitors into dopaminergic neurons in vitro and in vivo: ectopic induction in dorsal mesencephalon. Stem Cells 24: 2120-2129
  10. v Bohlen und Halbach O, Schober A, Krieglstein K (2004) Genes, proteins, and neurotoxins involved in Parkinson's disease. Prog Neurobiol 73:151-177
  11. Farkas L, Dünker N, Roussa E, Unsicker K, Krieglstein K (2003) TGF-ßs are essential for the development of midbrain dopaminergic neurons in vitro and in vivo. J Neurosci 23: 5178-5186
  12. Peterziel H, Unsicker K, Krieglstein K (2002) Molecular Mechanisms Underlying the Cooperative Effect of Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Transforming Growth Factor Beta in Neurons. J Cell Biol 159: 157-169
  13. Dünker N, Schmitt K, Schuster N, Krieglstein K (2002) The role of transforming growth factor beta 2 and 3 in mediating apoptosis in the murine intestinal mucosa. Gastroenterology 122: 1364-1375
  14. Dünker N, Schuster N, Krieglstein K (2001) Transforming Growth Factor Beta Modulates Programmed Cell Death in the Retina of the Developing Chick Embryo. Development 128: 1933-1942
  15. Krieglstein K., Richter S., Farkas L., Schuster N., Dünker N., Oppenheim RW, Unsicker K. (2000) Reduction of endogenous transforming growth factor beta prevents ontogenetic neuron death. Nature Neuroscience 3, 1085-1091