ZMB Member Stefan Westermann

ZMB Member
Stefan Westermann

Next ZMB-Member
portrait photo of ZMB member Stefan Westermann

Prof. Dr. Stefan Westermann

Center of Medical Biotechnology (ZMB)
Faculty of Biology
University of Duisburg-Essen
Universitätsstr. 2
45141 Essen

Research Overview

Kinetochores and the Microtubule Cytoskeleton

Starting out from a single fertilized egg, an adult human body contains about 100 Trillion cells. All of the cells in an organism are generated by division of existing cells, and the genomic building plan of the organism, in the form of chromosomes, needs to be exactly copied and divided between cells during the division process. How do cells achieve the segregation of their genomes with such remarkable precision? What type of molecular defects may underlie errors in chromosome segregation, which can give rise to birth defects and cancer? My laboratory is trying to understand how the duplicated genome is passed accurately from one cell generation to the next. We are following two related questions:

  1. How are Kinetochores constructed to allow accurate chromosome segregation? We are performing a detailed functional analysis and biochemical reconstitution of the budding yeast kinetochore.
  2. How are Microtubules organized and regulated to move chromosomes? We are investigating molecular motors and other microtubule-associated proteins in order to understand how they function, how they are regulated and how they organize microtubules.

Experimental Techniques

  • In-vitro reconstitution and biochemical analysis of proteins and multi-protein complexes.
  • Yeast genetics and functional analysis of the chromosome segregation machinery in-vivo.
  • Advanced imaging techniques, such as total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy with single-molecule sensitivity and reconstituted assays for dynamic microtubule growth.
Read more

Selected Publications

    Journal articles

  • Dudziak, Alexander; Engelhard, Lena; Bourque, Cole; Klink, Björn Udo; Rombaut, Pascaline; Kornakov, Nikolay; Jänen, Karolin; Herzog, Franz; Gatsogiannis, Christos; Westermann, Stefan
    Phospho-regulated Bim1/EB1 interactions trigger Dam1c ring assembly at the budding yeast outer kinetochore
    In: The EMBO Journal Vol. 40 (2021) Nr. 18, e108004
  • Killinger, Kerstin; Böhm, Miriam; Steinbach, Philine; Hagemann, Götz; Blüggel, Mike; Jänen, Karolin; Hohoff, Simone; Bayer, Peter; Herzog, Franz; Westermann, Stefan
    Auto-inhibition of Mif2/CENP-C ensures centromere-dependent kinetochore assembly in budding yeast
    In: The EMBO Journal Vol. 39 (2020) Nr. 14, pp. e102938
  • Schmitzberger, Florian; Richter, Magdalena M; Gordiyenko, Yuliya; Robinson, Carol V; Dadlez, Michał; Westermann, Stefan
    Molecular basis for inner kinetochore configuration through RWD domain–peptide interactions
    In: The EMBO Journal Vol. 36 (2017) Nr. 23, pp. 3458 - 3482
  • Molodtsov, Maxim I.; Mieck, Christine; Dobbelaere, Jeroen; Dammermann, Alexander; Westermann, Stefan; Vaziri, Alipasha
    A Force-Induced Directional Switch of a Molecular Motor Enables Parallel Microtubule Bundle Formation
    In: Cell Vol. 167 (2016) Nr. 2, pp. 539 - 552.e14
  • Weissmann, Florian; Peters, Jan-Michael; Schulman, Brenda A.; Westermann, Stefan; Lampert, Fabienne; Stark, Holger; Huis in 't Veld, Pim J.; VanderLinden, Ryan; Petzold, Georg
    BiGBac enables rapid gene assembly for the expression of large multisubunit protein complexes
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) Vol. 113 (2016) Nr. 19, pp. E2564 - E2569
  • Pekgöz Altunkaya, Gülsah; Malvezzi, Francesca; Demianova, Zuzana; Zimniak, Tomasz; Litos, Gabriele; Weissmann, Florian; Mechtler, Karl; Herzog, Franz; Westermann, Stefan
    CCAN Assembly Configures Composite Binding Interfaces to Promote Cross-Linking of Ndc80 Complexes at the Kinetochore
    In: Current Biology Vol. 26 (2016) Nr. 17, pp. 2370 - 2378
  • Malvezzi, Francesca; Litos, Gabriele; Schleiffer, Alexander; Heuck, Alexander; Mechtler, Karl; Clausen, Tim; Westermann, Stefan
    A structural basis for kinetochore recruitment of the Ndc80 complex via two distinct centromere receptors
    In: The EMBO Journal Vol. 32 (2013) Nr. 3, pp. 409 - 423
  • Schleiffer, Alexander; Maier, Michael; Litos, Gabriele; Lampert, Fabienne; Hornung, Peter; Mechtler, Karl; Westermann, Stefan
    CENP-T proteins are conserved centromere receptors of the Ndc80 complex
    In: Nature Cell Biology Vol. 14 (2012) Nr. 6, pp. 604 - 613
  • Zimniak, Tomasz; Fitz, Veronika; Zhou, Hongwen; Lampert, Fabienne; Opravil, Susanne; Mechtler, Karl; Stolt-Bergner, Peggy; Westermann, Stefan
    Spatiotemporal regulation of Ipl1/Aurora activity by direct Cdk1 phosphorylation
    In: Current Biology Vol. 22 (2012) Nr. 9, pp. 787 - 793
  • Lampert, Fabienne; Westermann, Stefan
    A blueprint for kinetochores - new insights into the molecular mechanics of cell division
    In: Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology Vol. 12 (2011) Nr. 7, pp. 407 - 412
  • Kiermaier, Eva; Woehrer, Sophie; Peng, Yutian; Mechtler, Karl; Westermann, Stefan
    A Dam1-based artificial kinetochore is sufficient to promote chromosome segregation in budding yeast
    In: Nature Cell Biology Vol. 11 (2009) Nr. 9, pp. 1109 - 1115
  • Grishchuk, Ekaterina L.; Spiridonov, Ilia S.; Volkov, Vladimir A.; Efremov, Artem K.; Westermann, Stefan; Drubin, David G.; Barnes, Georjana; Ataullakhanov, Fazly I.; McIntosh, J. Richard
    Different assemblies of the DAM1 complex follow shortening microtubules by distinct mechanisms
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) Vol. 105 (2008) Nr. 19, pp. 6918 - 6923
  • Grishchuk, Ekaterina L.; Efremov, Artem K.; Volkov, Vladimir A.; Spiridonov, Ilia S.; Gudimchuk, Nikita; Westermann, Stefan; Drubin, David G.; Barnes, Georjana; McIntosh, J. Richard; Ataullakhanov, Fazly I.
    The Dam1 ring binds microtubules strongly enough to be a processive as well as energy-efficient coupler for chromosome motion
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) Vol. 105 (2008) Nr. 40, pp. 15423 - 15428
  • Wang, Hong-Wei; Ramey, Vincent H.; Westermann, Stefan; Leschziner, Andres E.; Welburn, Julie P. I.; Nakajima, Yuko; Drubin, David G.; Barnes, Georjana; Nogales, Eva
    Architecture of the Dam1 kinetochore ring complex and implications for microtubule-driven assembly and force-coupling mechanisms
    In: Nature Structural & Molecular Biology Vol. 14 (2007) Nr. 8, pp. 721 - 726
  • Westermann, Stefan; Drubin, David G.; Barnes, Georjana
    Structures and functions of yeast kinetochore complexes
    In: Annual Review of Biochemistry Vol. 76 (2007) pp. 563 - 591
  • Westermann, Stefan; Wang, Hong-Wei; Avila-Sakar, Augustin; Drubin, David G.; Nogales, Eva; Barnes, Georjana
    The Dam1 kinetochore ring complex moves processively on depolymerizing microtubule ends
    In: Nature Vol. 440 (2006) Nr. 7083, pp. 565 - 569
  • Westermann, Stefan; Avila-Sakar, Augustin; Wang, Hong-Wei; Niederstrasser, Hanspeter; Wong, Jonathan; Drubin, David G.; Nogales, Eva; Barnes, Georjana
    Formation of a dynamic kinetochore-microtubule interface through assembly of the Dam1 ring complex
    In: Molecular Cell Vol. 17 (2005) Nr. 2, pp. 277 - 290