Prof. Dr. Brigitte M. Jockusch (a.D.)

Spielmannstr. 7
38106 Braunschweig
Telefon:   +49 (0)531 391 3182
Telefax:   +49 (0)531 391 3222
E-Mail:   bmj@tu-bs.de

Past and current research activities

  • Functional studies on cell adhesion and locomotion in animal cells
  • Functional and structural studies on cell contact proteins
  • Cytoskeleton-membrane attachment of mammalian cells in tumorigenesis, metastasis and hereditary diseases
  • Signaling to and from cytoskeletal components
  • Analysis of conserved dual compartment proteins in the nucleus and the cytoplasm with specific antibodies

Ongoing Projects

(1) Profilin

In collaboration with the group of Prof. Martin Korte, Cellular Neurobiology, Zoological Institute, (especially with Drs. Kai Murk and Martin Rothkegel, former members of the Cell Biology Group), we study the localization and functional significance of the expression of the profilin isoforms 1 and 2 (PFN1 and 2, respectively) in hippocampal neurons. Our results obtained thus far suggest that the function of PFN1 and 2 in dendrites and spines of pyramidal neurons partially overlap, but the maintenance of the dendritic structure in mature neurons depends on PFN2, especially on an intact actin binding site in this isoform. In addition to neuronal cell culture and RNAi technology, this analysis depends critically on antibodies specific for either PFN1 or 2. Such antibodies are also instrumental in an ongoing study where we localize profilin isoforms in synaptic structures of rat and mouse hippocampal neurons (in collaboration with Drs. K. Murk, M. Rothkegel, and Dr. N. Wittenmayer, University of Heidelberg).

(2) Actin

In collaboration with the group of Prof. Ueli Aebi, Maurice Müller Institute, Biozentrum of the Universtiy of Basel (especially with Dr. C.A. Schoenenberger), we study different conformations of actin, in an attempt to correlate those with actin forms residing in different compartments of mammalian cells. We are especially interested in nuclear actin and its role in various nuclear activities ranging from chromatin remodelling to RNA polymerase activity. To this end, we have generated a panel of monoclonal actin antibodies that discriminate between different actin structures and are currently investigating their use as tell tales for different forms of nucelar actin.

(3) Generation of monoclonal antibodies

In our previous studies on a variety of cytoskeletal proteins involved in attachment, locomotion and dynamic shape changes of vertebrate cells, we relied on the availability of monoclonal antibodies of high specificity, as generated in our laboratory, for example in projects of two previous collaborative programs funded by the German Research Council (DFG-Forschergruppen “Regulation, Modification and Organisation of Structural Proteins” and “Regulatory Mechanisms of Cell Differentiation: Determinants of Adhesion and Shape”). A variety of these antibodies are now available at Antibody Facility. Recently, we have embarked on generating antibodies against protein components of molybdenum or iron-containing enzymes (DFG-Forschergruppe “Protrain”). In these cases, as with cytoskeletal proteins, many components are highly conserved and thus poorly immunogenic. Together with Ms. Sabine Buchmeier (employed in this project and also engaged in the Antibody Facility), we develop specific strategies for antigen presentation, immunization and antibody selection, with the goal to obtain antibodies of high specifitiy and affinity, against sequential and conformational epitopes.


Personal data:

Name: Brigitte M. Jockusch
Date and place of birth: 27. September, 1939, Berlin
Nationality: German
Academic degrees: Dr. rer. nat., University Professor, emerita since 2004
Marital Status: married, two children

Academic training and appointments:

1958 - 1964 Studies of Biology, Chemistry and Geography, Universities of Munich and Tübingen
1964 Exam for high school teachers (equivalent to M.D.), University of Munich
1964 - 1967 doctoral student at the Zoological Institute, University of Munich
1967 Dr. rer.nat. (equivalent to Ph.D.), University of Munich
1968 Postdoctoral Fellow at Max-Planck-Institute of Cell Biology, Tübingen
1968 - 1970 Postdoct. Fellow at McArdle Lab. Cancer Res., University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc.,USA
1970 - 1975 Group leader at Max-Planck-Institute of Biology, Tübingen
1972 Habilitation (degree for University teaching), University of Tübingen
1975 - 1978 Assistant Professor, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland
1978 - 1982 Group leader at EMBL, Heidelberg
1982 - 1986 Group leader at University of Bielefeld
1985 - 1993 Speaker of the Special Collaborative Programme „Pathomechanisms of Cellular Interactions“ (DFG-Sonderforschungsbereich)
1986 - 1993 Associate Professor at University of Bielefeld
1993 - 2004 Full Professor at University of Braunschweig
1996 - 2002 Speaker of the Collaborative Research Group “Regulation, Modification and Organisation of Structural Proteins” (DFG-Forschergruppe)
2002 - 2004 Speaker of the International Graduate College“Molecular Complexes of Biomedical Relevance” (IGC Niedersachsen)
2002 – 2008 Project leader in the Collaborative Research Group “Regulatory Mechanisms of Cell Differentiation: Determinants of Adhesion and Shape” (DFG-Forschergruppe)
2005 - Consultant of the University of Braunschweig
2007 - Consultant of the Maurice-Müller Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland
2005 - Consultant of the International Graduate College “Molecular Complexes of Biomedical Relevance”
2009 - Project leader in the Collaborative Research Group “Protrain” (DGF- Forschergruppe)

Awards, honours, appointed and elected memberships:

1982 Elected Member of EMBO
1985 - 1991 Vice President of the German Society for Cell Biology
1987 Award for Cultural Achievements (“Kulturpreis”), City of Bielefeld
1991- 1999 Member of the Minerva Committee for German-Israeli Cooperation
1994- 2003 Member of the Advisory Board of the „Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung“ Braunschweig
1996 - 2004 Referee of the German Research Foundation (DFG-Fachreferentin)
1996 Elected Member of the Academy of Science, Braunschweig
1996 - 2004 Elected Member of the „Wissenschaftsrat“ of Germany
2000 Elected Member of the German Academy of Science „Leopoldina“
2002 - Appointed Member of the Evaluation Committee of the “Wissenschaftsrat”
2002 - Elected Member of the “Kuratorium Volkswagenstiftung”
2003 - Speaker of the Advisory Board of the Biozentrum, University of Würzburg
2005 Cross of Merit on Ribbon (Verdienstkreuz am Bande), Niedersachsen

Reviewer for scientific journals

Biochem., Biochim. Biophys. Acta; Cell and Tissue Research (Editorial Board)
Cell Motility & Cytoskel. (Editorial Board); EMBO J.; Eur. J. Cell Biol. (Editorial Board), Exp.Cell Res.; Histochem. Cell Biol.; J. Biol. Chem., J. Cell Biol.; J. Cell Sci.;
Nature Cell Biol.; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.; Science