QBI - Seminar

QBI Seminar with Christian Freund, Freie Universitát: Protein Autoinhibition in the Presynapse

QBI is presenting a seminar with Christian Freund, professor and head of the Laboratory of Protein Biochemistry at Freie Universitát, Berlin. The Freund group is interested in the structure and dynamics of proteins in the context of molecular immunology and neurobiology. In particular, antigen presentation by so-called MHC class II molecules serves as a model system to track the dynamical prerequisites of antigen exchange, a process shaping adaptive immunity by ultimately engaging T cells. T cell engagement in turn is investigated at the level of membrane-proximal signaling events leading to changes in the adhesion/migration balance that is under cytoskeletal control. In the nervous system, protein autoinhibition is followed as a major mechanism to guarantee the coordination of events along the synaptic vesicle cycle. Most recently, the group could show that epilepsy-causing mutations in so-called SNARE proteins responsible for vesicle fusion cause cellular dysfunction by distinct molecular mechanisms related to changes in intra- and intermolecular interaction patterns.

Christian Freund has been awarded the prestigious Biofuture Prize for young researchers in the year 2000 and the Innovation Prize in Medicinal Technology (2009) by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Education and Research. He is a member of several DFG-funded research networks and vice speaker of the Transregio Heidelberg-Berlin on molecular switches in the spatiotemporal control of cellular signal transmission (since 2016).