Biography

During my undergraduate studies in Chemistry I majored in Biochemistry. I therefore decided to carry out a biochemical PhD project on hyaluronan at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried/Germany. In 1988, I joined Dr. Rupert Timpl, a world-renowned expert in extracellular matrix proteins, as a post-doc at the Max-Planck-Institute and worked mainly on the structure/function relationship of extracellular matrix/basement membrane proteins. Research to which I have contributed has involved the biochemical study of nidogen, a major component of basement membranes, and the identification of its binding repertoire to collagen type IV, perlecan and laminin. Of special importance was the identification of the nidogen-binding site within the laminin g1 chain, its characterisation as a single epidermal growth factor-like module of 56 amino acids and its structural characterisation. This work had world-wide impact and generated a model how basement membranes are assembled. 

In 1992, I moved to the Max-Planck Research Group for extracellular matrix in Erlangen. During that period I initiated in vivo analysis of basement membrane proteins and their cellular receptors using mouse knock-out technology. From 1993-2001, I worked in the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried/Germany as an independent senior scientist in the Department of Protein Chemistry (head: Dr. Rupert Timpl) and established my research group. We were first in demonstrating that mutations in integrin alpha7 lead to a muscular dystrophy and we were amongst the first groups introducing subtle mutations in mice, which allowed us to study a protein-protein interaction in vivo.

In 2000 I joined the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix research at the University of Manchester and finally moved to the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia in 2006 as Professor of Cell Biology.

I am still deeply connected with the research area I was trained in as a PhD student and Post-doc, but am taking now a broader approach to understand disease mechanisms when cells fail to communicate with their environment, especially in skeletal muscle.

Career History

  • 2005 onwards, Professor of Cell Biology, Biomedical Research Centre, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK
  • 2002-2005, Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences, Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, University of Manchester, UK
  • 2000-2002, Lecturer in Dental Genetics, Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, University of Manchester, UK
  • 1994-2000, Junior Research Leader, Max-Planck-Institute of Bochemistry, Martinsried, Germany
  • 1993, Research Assistant, Max-Planck-Research Group for Rheumatology and Immunology, University of Erlangen, Germany
  • 1988-1992, Research Assistant, Department of Exracellular Matrix Research, Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany
  • 1988, Ph.D. in Chemistry, 1988 Ludwig-Maximillian University of Munich, Germany
  • 1984, Diploma in Chemistry Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg, Germany

All Publications

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Elkina, Y., Palus, S., Tschirner, A., Hartmann, K., Von Haehling, S., Doehner, W., Mayer, U., Coats, A. J., Beadle, J., Anker, S. D., Springer, J.

(2013)

Tandospirone reduces wasting and improves cardiac function in experimental cancer cachexia,

in International Journal of Cardiology

170

(2)

pp. 160-166

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Pellegatta, M., De Arcangelis, A., D'urso, A., Nodari, A., Zambroni, D., Ghidinelli, M., Matafora, V., Williamson, C., Georges-labouesse, E., Kreidberg, J., Mayer, U., Mckee, K. K., Yurchenco, P. D., Quattrini, A., Wrabetz, L., Feltri, M. L.

(2013)

α6β1 and α7β1 Integrins Are Required in Schwann Cells to Sort Axons,

in The Journal of Neuroscience

33

(46)

pp. 17995-18007

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Ackroyd, M., Whitmore, C., Prior, S., Kaluarachchi, M., Nikolic, M., Mayer, U., Muntoni, F., Brown, S.

(2011)

Fukutin-Related Protein Alters the Deposition of Laminin in the Eye and Brain,

in The Journal of Neuroscience

31

(36)

pp. 12927-12935

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Mokkapati, S., Fleger-Weckmann, A., Bechtel, M., Koch, M., Breitkreutz, D., Mayer, U., Smyth, N., Nischt, R.

(2011)

Basement Membrane Deposition of Nidogen 1 but Not Nidogen 2 Requires the Nidogen Binding Module of the Laminin 1 Chain,

in Journal of Biological Chemistry

286

(3)

pp. 1911-1918

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Makwana, M., Werner, A., Acosta-Saltos, A., Gonitel, R., Pararajasingham, A., Ruff, C., Rumajogee, P., Cuthill, D., Galiano, M., Bohatschek, M., Wallace, A., Anderson, P., Mayer, U., Behrens, A., Raivich, G.

(2010)

Peripheral facial nerve axotomy in mice causes sprouting of motor axons into perineuronal central white matter: Time course and molecular characterization,

in Journal of Comparative Neurology

518

(5)

pp. 699-721

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Aigner, B., Rathkolb, B., Klaften, M., Sedlmeier, R., Klempt, M., Wagner, S., Michel, D., Mayer, U., Klopstock, T., Hrabe de Angelis, M., Wolf, E.

(2009)

Generation of N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea-induced mouse mutants with deviations in plasma enzyme activities as novel organ-specific disease models,

in Experimental Physiology

94

(4)

pp. 412-421

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Han, R., Kanagawa, M., Yoshida-Moriguchi, T., Rader, E., Ng, R., Michele, D., Muirhead, D., Kunz, S., Moore, S., Iannaccone, S., Miyake, K., McNeil, P., Mayer, U., Oldstone, M., Faulkner, J., Campbell, K.

(2009)

Inaugural Article: Basal lamina strengthens cell membrane integrity via the laminin G domain-binding motif of -dystroglycan,

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

106

(31)

pp. 12573-12579

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Hager, M., Meszaros, R., Bigotti, M., Allamand, V., Akerlund, M., Kalamajski, S., Brancaccio, A., Mayer, U., Durbeej, M.

(2008)

Cib2 binds integrin 7B 1D and is reduced in laminin 2 chain deficient muscular dystrophy,

in Journal of Biological Chemistry

283

pp. 24760-24769

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Wang, H., Chang, L., Brixius, K., Wickstrom, S., Montanez, E., Thievessen, I., Schwander, M., Muller, U., Bloch, W., Mayer, U., Fassler, R.

(2008)

Integrin-linked kinase stabilizes myotendinous junctions and protects muscle from stress-induced damage,

in Journal of Cell Biology

180

pp. 1037-1049

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Bass, M., Roach, K., Morgan, M., Mostafavi-Pour, Z., Schoen, T., Muramatsu, T., Mayer, U., Ballestrem, C., Spatz, J., Humphries, M.

(2007)

Syndecan-4-dependent Rac1 regulation determines directional migration in response to the extracellular matrix,

in Journal of Cell Biology

177

pp. 527-538

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Candiello, J., Balasubramani, M., Schreiber, E. M., Cole, G. J., Mayer, U., Halfter, W., Lin, H.

(2007)

Biomechanical properties of native basement membranes,

in FEBS Journal

274

(11)

pp. 2897-2908

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Hanft, L., Bogan, D., Mayer, U., Kaufman, S., Kornegay, J., Ervasti, J.

(2007)

Cytoplasmic y-actin expression in diverse animal models of muscular dystrophy,

in Neuromuscular Disorders

17

pp. 569-574

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Leclere, P., Norman, E., Groutsi, F., Coffin, R., Mayer, U., Pizzey, J., Tonge, D.

(2007)

Impaired axonal regeneration by isolectin B4-binding dorsal root ganglion neurons in vitro.,

in The Journal of Neuroscience

27

pp. 1190-1199

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Guo, C., Willem, M., Werner, A., Raivich, G., Emerson, M., Neyses, L., Mayer, U.

(2006)

Absence of alpha 7 integrin in dystrophin-deficient mice causes a myopathy similar to Duchenne muscular dystrophy,

in Human Molecular Genetics

15

(6)

pp. 989-998

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Gawlika, K., Mayer, U., Blomberg, K., Sonnenberg, A., Ekblom, P., Durbeej, M.

(2006)

Laminin alpha1 chain mediated reduction of laminin alpha2 chain deficient muscular dystrophy involves integrin alpha7beta1 and dystroglycan,

in FEBS Letters

580

pp. 1759-1765

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Haubst, N., Georges-Labouesse, E., De Arcangelis, A., Mayer, U., Gotz, M.

(2006)

Basement membrane attachment is dispensable for radial glial cell fate and for proliferation, but affects positioning of neuronal subtypes.,

in Development

133

pp. 3245-3254

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Macdonald, P., Progias, P., Ciani, B., Patel, S., Mayer, U., Steinmetz, M., Kammerer, R.

(2006)

Structure of the extracellular domain of tie receptor tyrosine kinases and localization of the angiopoietin-binding epitope.,

in Journal of Biological Chemistry

281

pp. 28408-28414

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Rogers, L., Mayer, U.

(2006)

Insights into integrin function in skeletal muscle.,

in Integrins and Development.

Landes Bioscience

pp. 138-151

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Smirnov, S., Harrison, D., Mckee, K., Mayer, U., Yurchenco, P.

(2006)

Laminin-nidogen interaction in the induction of AChR clustering.,

Full Text UEA Repository

(Working paper)

(Published)


Smith, N., Losty, P., Connell, M., Mayer, U., Jesudason, E.

(2006)

Abnormal lung development precedes oligohydramnios in a transgenic murine model of renal dysgenesis,

in Journal of Urology

175

pp. 783-786

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


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Key Research Interests

Our group aims at understanding the role cell-extracellular matrix interaction plays in development and tissue maintenance in the adult. Using mice as a model system, we are interested to unravel the mechanisms by which cells direct extracellular matrix composition, and vice versa, how the environment influences cellular behavior. In recent years, we have focused our research on the function of cell surface receptors for skeletal muscle maintenance and regeneration and the role of muscle stem cells as potential therapeutic target in muscle wasting diseases, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Current Research Projects

  • Integrin function ins skeletal muscle
  • Signalling mechanism in skelatal muscle
  • Integrin function in muscle stem cell renewal and proliferation
  • Satellite cells and pericytes in muscle regeneration
  • Autophagy in skeletal muscle
  • Skeletal muscle function in diet-induced obesity

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in Biological Sciences. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Teaching Interests

  • 4008Y (Skills for Biologists)
  • 4005Y (Introduction to Biomedicine)
  • 2B06 (Cell Biology)
  • 2B30 (Investigation of Human Disease)
  • 3C41 (Genomes, Genes and Genomics)
  • M201 (Frontiers in Molecular Medicine I)
  • M202 (Frontiers in Molecular Medicine II)
  • I also offer undergraduate and postgraduate Research Projects

External Activities and Indicators of Esteem

  • Member of the Board of Reviewers PLos Currents: Muscular Dystrophy (2011 - present)
  • Editorial Board member (review Editor), Frontiers in Vascular Physiology (2010 - present)
  • Speaker at research training course: "Mouse models in cell-matrix research", of the Nordic Infrastructure for Mouse Models (NorIMM), Bergen, Norway (2009)
  • Invited speaker, Gordon Conference on Basement Membranes, Biddeford, Maine, USA (22 - 27 June 2008)
  • Chairperson of the session Basement membranes and disease, Gordon Conference on Basement Membranes, Biddeford, Maine, USA (22 - 26 June 2008)

Administrative Posts

  • Co-Director of the Biomedical Research Centre
  • Chair of the Disease Modelling Unit user group
  • Member of the MRC sift committee