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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2019/20 PD Dr. Stephan Seiler

PD Dr. Stephan Seiler

University of Freiburg
Fungal Cell Biology
Junior Fellow
October 2013 - July 2016

Phone +49 (0) 761-203 2669


Stephan Seiler studied Biology and Biochemistry at the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, where he also completed his doctoral thesis in 2000 at the Medical Faculty, Institute for Cell Biology. After a three-year post-docteral period at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and the LMU Munich, Institute for Physiological Chemistry, he started his own research group at the DFG Research Centre for Molecular Physiology of the Brain at the Georg-August University of Göttingen. After his Habilitation in Microbiology and Genetics, he moved to Freiburg in 2013 and is currently heading a research group at the Institute for Biology II, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg.

He received several awards and fellowships during his studies, such as the “Roche Molecular Biochemicals Förderpreis”, the “Beadle and Tatum Award“ and an EMBO long-term fellowship, and is currently a Heisenberg Fellow of the German Research Foundation.


Selected Publications

  • Heilig, Y., Dettmann, A., Mourino-Pérez, R.R., Schmitt, K., Valerius, O., and Seiler, S. (2014). Proper actin ring formation and septum constriction requires coordinated regulation of SIN and MOR pathways through the germinal centre kinase MST1. PLOS Genetics, 10, e1004306.
  • Dettmann, A., Heilig, Y., Valerius, O., Ludwig, S., and Seiler, S. (2014). Fungal communication requires the MAK-2 pathway elements STE-20 and RAS-2, the NRC-1 adapter STE-50 and the MAP kinase scaffold HAM-5. PLOS Genetics, 10, e1004762.
  • Dettmann, A., Illgen, J, März, S., Schürg, T., Fleissner, A., and Seiler, S. (2012). The NDR kinase scaffold HYM1/MO25 is essential for MAK2 MAP kinase signaling in Neurospora crassa. PLOS Genetics, 8:e1002950.
  • März, S., Dettmann, A., and Seiler, S. (2012). Hydrophobic motif phosphorylation coordinates activity and polar localization of the Neurospora crassa nuclear Dbf2-related kinase COT1. Mol. Cell. Biol., 32:2083-2098.
  • Richthammer, C., Enseleit, M., Sanchez-Leon, E., März, S., Heilig, Y., Riquelme, M., and Seiler, S. (2012). RHO1 and RHO2 share partially overlapping functions in the regulation of cell wall integrity and hyphal polarity in Neurospora crassa. Mol. Microbiol. 85:716-733.
  • März, S., Funakoshi, Y., Negishi, Y., Suzuki, T., and Seiler, S. (2010). The Neurospora peptide:N-glycanase ortholog PNG1 is essential for cell polarity despite its lack of enzymatic activity. J. Biol. Chem. 285:2326-2332.
  • März, S., and Seiler. S. (2010). Tales of RAM and MOR: NDR kinase signaling and fungal morphogenesis. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 13, 663-671.


FRIAS Research Project

The chemotropic compass of fungi: understanding pulsatile MAK2 MAP kinase signaling in Neurospora

Communication among microbes is a fundamental biological phenomenon. Filamentous fungi that secrete a vast array of metabolites and putative signaling molecules are excellent model systems to address this problem. Moreover, the connection between chemical gradient sensing and regulation of cell polarity is only poorly understood in any eukaryotic system. In Neurospora crassa an unknown chemical ligand mediates chemotropic interactions resulting in cell fusion of genetically identical cells. This process of self-signaling is based on the oscillatory recruitment of the MAK2 MAP kinase cascade to the opposing tips of communicating cells. The aim of this FRIAS project is the mechanistic understanding of pulsatile MAK2 signaling.

Hyphal fusion is comparable to cell fusion between genetically identical cells of higher eukaryotes, which results in the formation of multinuclear syncytia. Moreover, intercellular communication and somatic cell fusion is important for establishment and function of the fungal colony by sharing nutrients and organelles of individual cells. Hyphal anastomosis is also critical for host colonization and virulence of pathogenic fungi. Understanding this process will have significant implications on our ability to intervene in this process by either inhibiting it in cases of detrimental fungi or enhancing it when beneficial growth is desired.