RUB » Biochemistry II - Molecular Biochemistry » Molecular Neurobiochemistry Group

Main points of research

Rolf Heumann

Neuronal connectivity is regulated not only during development but also in the adult brain, in response to brain activity. The small GTPase protein Ras is a universal intracellular signaling protein that may mediate such mechanisms of brain plasticity through transient activation of downstream protein phosphorylation signaling cascades. We have developed a synRas animal model expressing permanently activated Val12 Ras, selectively in neurons. Using this model we investigate if neuronal Ras activity is involved in the dynamics of dendritic spine formation in brain neurons, in the regulation of synapse number and their efficiency, in the regulation of neurogenesis in the hippocampus. The latter is thought to mediate working memory processes. We also investigate what is the molecular mechanism of Ras-mediated protection against lesion-induced neuronal degeneration. Formation of intracellular protein-protein interactions involving protein tyrosine phosphatases are studied in vivo and in vitro. The molecular mechanisms are analyzed by protein nuclear magnetic resonance structure determinations and mass spectrometric methods.


Showing nerves their growth direction magnetically


PC12 cellOne reason why nerve damage in the brain cannot regenerate easily is that the neurites do not know in which direction they should grow. A team of researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), Sorbonne University Paris, and the Technische Universität Braunschweig is now working on showing them the direction using magnetic nanoparticles. The team led by Professor Rolf Heumann, Senior Researcher for Molecular Neurobiochemistry at RUB, is hoping that this will allow the effects of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's to be alleviated over the long term. The results of the work were published on 31 December 2020 in the journal Scientific Reports. Press Release. Abstract.



Nurr1-ParkinsonIn collaboration with Stephen H. Leppla of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dennis Paliga, Fabian Raudzus, Rolf Heumann, and Sebastian Neumann delivered the transcription factor Nurr1 as a protein in dopaminergic cells using a bacterial toxin. In this way they were able to protect the cells from the toxic effects of 6-hydroxydopamine. This cell-permeable Nurr1 protein could be a new approach for the development of a new therapy for treatment of Parkinson's disease. The study has been published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology. Press Release. Abstract. The complete article is openly accessible.

Funding for Horizon 2020 project granted


Horizon 2020The interdisciplinary team of the “Magneuron” project has been granted a 3.5 million Euro funding for four years from the Horizon 2020 programme to develop a new therapy for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. 680.000 Euro go the Ruhr University. Press Release (in German).

Neue Einblicke in die innere Uhr


Bio­che­mi­ker der Ruhr-Uni­ver­si­tät Bo­chum ha­ben neue Ein­blicke in die Ent­ste­hung des zir­ka­di­anen Rhyth­mus ge­won­nen. Sie zeig­ten, daß das Ras-Pro­te­in wich­tig ist, um die in­ne­re Uhr zu stel­len. Die Ak­ti­vi­tät des Pro­te­ins be­stimmt die Pe­rioden­län­ge des zir­ka­dianen Rhyth­mus. Ras ist auch da­ran be­tei­ligt, die Pe­riode als Ant­wort auf ex­ter­ne Zeit­ge­ber­rei­ze wie Licht zu ver­schie­ben. Das Team um Prof. Dr. Rolf Heu­mann be­rich­tet in der Zeit­schrift „Molecular Neurobiology“. Presse­mit­tei­lung.


Prof. Dr. Rolf Heumann


Prof. Dr. Rolf Heumann
NBCF 04/239

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
44780 Bochum

Tel.: +49 234 32-28230


Lehrstuhl für Biochemie II -
Molekulare Biochemie
NC 7/174

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
44780 Bochum

Tel.: +49 234 32-24230
Fax: +49 234 32-14105


Central website of the Ruhr University

Molekulare Neurobiochemie