Dr. Kris Henningfeld

Universitätsmedizin Göttingen
Institut für Entwicklungsbiochemie
Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11
D-37077 Göttingen


Tel: +49-551-39-60768/65953
Fax: +49-551-39-60774
Email: khennin1(at)gwdg.de

Curriculum vitae

  • 1987 – 1991 BA Chemistry Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL, USA

  • 1991 – 1996 PhD Chemistry University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA USA Research Advisor: Professor Sidney M. Hecht.
  • 1996 – 1997 Postdoctoral Fellow, Innere Medizin III (Hematology and Oncology), University of Ulm
  • 1997 – 2001 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biochemistry University of Ulm
  • since 2001 Researcher at the Department of Developmental Biochemistry University of Goettingen

Research focus

Molecular mechanisms controlling Xenopus neurogenesis

Xenopus has proven itself as a valuable model system to elucidate the cascade of events that controls early vertebrate neurogenesis owing to simplicity and accessibility of primary neurogenesis. In Xenopus, the first primary neurons are born within the induced neuroectoderm shortly after gastrulation in three bilateral longitudinal domains. The neurons can be visualized by whole mount in situ hybridization by the expression of neural-specific beta-Tubulin (N-Tubulin) (see figure). The differentiation of the primary neurons is driven by the bHLH transcription factor neurogenin-related 1 (X-ngnr-1), which induces later acting genes required for withdrawal of the progenitor cells from the cell cycle and terminal differentiation. In addition, X-ngnr-1 induces the expression of the ligand Delta, which in turn activates Notch signaling in the neighboring cell. Activation of the Notch pathway gives rise to the expression of the enhancer of split related repressor bHLH proteins that inhibit both the expression and function of X-ngnr-1. Thus, neuronal differentiation does occur in this cell at this time. Our research is focused on the identification and characterization of the intrinsic factors and signaling pathways that promote and restrict primary neuron formation.

Publications (since 2003)

Melchert J., Henningfeld K., Richts S., Lingner T., Jonigk D., Pieler T. (2020) The secreted BMP antagonist ERFE is required for the development of a functional circulatory system in Xenopus. Dev Biol 459, 138-148.

Desiderio S., Vermeiren S., Van Campenhout C., Kricha S., Malki E., Richts S., Fletcher E., Vanwelden T., Schmidt B., Henningfeld K., Pieler T., Woods C., Nagy V., Verfaillie C., Bellefroid E. (2019) Prdm12 Directs Nociceptive Sensory Neuron Development by Regulating the Expression of the NGF Receptor TrkA. Cell Rep 26, 3522-3536.e5.

Desmaris E., Keruzore M., Saulnier A., Ratié L., Assimacopoulos S., De Clercq S., Nan X., Roychoudhury K., Qin S., Kricha S., Chevalier C., Lingner T., Henningfeld K., Zarkower D., Mallamaci A., Theil T., Campbell K., Pieler T., Li M., Grove E., Bellefroid E. (2018) DMRT5, DMRT3, and EMX2 Cooperatively Repress Gsx2 at the Pallium-Subpallium Boundary to Maintain Cortical Identity in Dorsal Telencephalic Progenitors. J Neurosci 38, 9105-9121.

Kremnyov S., Henningfeld K., Viebahn C., Tsikolia N. (2018) Divergent axial morphogenesis and early shh expression in vertebrate prospective floor plate. Evodevo 9, 4.

Thélie A., Desiderio S., Hanotel J., Quigley I., Van Driessche B., Rodari A., Borromeo M., Kricha S., Lahaye F., Croce J., Cerda-Moya G., Ordoño Fernandez J., Bolle B., Lewis K., Sander M., Pierani A., Schubert M., Johnson J., Kintner C., Pieler T., Van Lint C., Henningfeld K., Bellefroid E., Van Campenhout C. (2015) Prdm12 specifies V1 interneurons through cross-repressive interactions with Dbx1 and Nkx6 genes in Xenopus. Development 142, 3416-28.

Cabochette P., Vega-Lopez G., Bitard J., Parain K., Chemouny R., Masson C., Borday C., Hedderich M., Henningfeld K., Locker M., Bronchain O., Perron M. (2015) YAP controls retinal stem cell DNA replication timing and genomic stability. Elife 4, e08488.

Müller D., Cherukuri P., Henningfeld K., Poh C., Wittler L., Grote P., Schlüter O., Schmidt J., Laborda J., Bauer S., Brownstone R., Marquardt T. (2014) Dlk1 promotes a fast motor neuron biophysical signature required for peak force execution. Science 343, 1264-6.

Hanotel J., Bessodes N., Thélie A., Hedderich M., Parain K., Van Driessche B., Brandão K., Kricha S., Jorgensen M., Grapin-Botton A., Serup P., Van Lint C., Perron M., Pieler T., Henningfeld K., Bellefroid E. (2014) The Prdm13 histone methyltransferase encoding gene is a Ptf1a-Rbpj downstream target that suppresses glutamatergic and promotes GABAergic neuronal fate in the dorsal neural tube. Dev Biol 386, 340-57.

Paul V., Tonchev A., Henningfeld K., Pavlakis E., Rust B., Pieler T., Stoykova A. (2014) Scratch2 modulates neurogenesis and cell migration through antagonism of bHLH proteins in the developing neocortex. Cereb Cortex 24, 754-72.

Nieber F., Hedderich M., Jahn O., Pieler T., Henningfeld K. (2013) NumbL is essential for Xenopus primary neurogenesis. BMC Dev Biol 13, 36.

Nieber F., Pieler T., Henningfeld K. (2009) Comparative expression analysis of the neurogenins in Xenopus tropicalis and Xenopus laevis. Dev Dyn 238, 451-8.

Souopgui J., Rust B., Vanhomwegen J., Heasman J., Henningfeld K., Bellefroid E., Pieler T. (2008) The RNA-binding protein XSeb4R: a positive regulator of VegT mRNA stability and translation that is required for germ layer formation in Xenopus. Genes Dev 22, 2347-52.

Dullin J., Locker M., Robach M., Henningfeld K., Parain K., Afelik S., Pieler T., Perron M. (2007) Ptf1a triggers GABAergic neuronal cell fates in the retina. BMC Dev Biol 7, 110.

Souopgui J., Klisch T., Pieler T., Henningfeld K. (2007) Expression and regulation of Xenopus CRMP-4 in the developing nervous system. Int J Dev Biol 51, 339-43.

Klisch T., Souopgui J., Juergens K., Rust B., Pieler T., Henningfeld K. (2006) Mxi1 is essential for neurogenesis in Xenopus and acts by bridging the pan-neural and proneural genes. Dev Biol 292, 470-85.

Pan F., Chen Y., Loeber J., Henningfeld K., Pieler T. (2006) I-SceI meganuclease-mediated transgenesis in Xenopus. Dev Dyn 235, 247-52.

Juergens K., Rust B., Pieler T., Henningfeld K. (2005) Isolation and comparative expression analysis of the Myc-regulatory proteins Mad1, Mad3, and Mnt during Xenopus development. Dev Dyn 233, 1554-9.

Dürr U., Henningfeld K., Hollemann T., Knöchel W., Pieler T. (2004) Isolation and characterization of the Xenopus HIVEP gene family. Eur J Biochem 271, 1135-44.