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Dr. rer. nat. (Biology), M.A. (Philosophy) Astrid Petzoldt


Sigrist Group – Genetics


Charité Campus Mitte
CCO-Gebäude, room 05218
Virchowweg 6 (intern)
Charitéplatz 1
10117 Berlin

Synapses are the primary working units of the nervous system allowing for fast and directional signal transduction between neuron and target cell. Neurotransmission is the basis of all brain process, such as thinking, decision making or memory formation as well as motor-output, thus body control. Impaired synaptogenesis and presynaptic function cause severe neurodegenerative and -developmental defects including Parkinson, ASD (Autism spectrum disorder), Alzheimer’s disease or mental retardation.

My work focusses on several aspects of synapse formation and maintenance. Firstly, I am investigating the role and function of the presynaptic scaffold, including early seeding factors, such as Liprin-alpha and mature scaffold proteins, including Bruchpilot (BRP), RIM-binding protein (RIM-BP) and RIM. Secondly, as an independent PI within the SFB 958 (Project 1) I’m investigating factors involved in the formation and guidance of synaptic transport vesicles (TVs), responsible for the delivery of presynaptic building units to the presynapse. This includes small GTPases (RABs) and small Ras-related GTPases. Thirdly, I am investigating the organization and function of presynaptic on-site cytoskeleton components, actin and microtubule. I have identified motor proteins, namely unconventional myosins, affecting synapse formation and investigate the “bridge” between cytoskeleton and presynaptic scaffold.

Job specialization

  • fly genetics
  • cell biology/ cytoskeleton/ myosins/ Rab proteins
  • neurobiology/ synaptogenesis/ synaptic transport
  • immunofluorescence imaging
  • conventional and super-resolution light microscopy (STED) in fixed tissue and invivo imaging
  • biochemical approaches

Götz, T.W.B., Puchkov, D., Lysiuk, V., Lutzkendorf, J., Nikonenko, A.G., Quentin, C., Lehmann, M., Sigrist, S.J.#, and Petzoldt, A.G.#. (2021).
Rab2 regulates presynaptic precursor vesicle biogenesis at the trans-Golgi. J Cell Biol. 220.  # corresponding authors

Ramesh, N.,Escher, M.J.F., Mampell, M.A., Bohme, M.A., Gotz, T.W.B., Goel, P., Matkovic, T.Petzoldt, A.G., Dickman, D. and Sigrist, S.J. (2021).
Antagonistic interactions between two Neuroligins coordinate pre- and postsynaptic assembly. Curr Biol. 31(8):1711-1725.

Petzoldt, A.G.*, Götz, T.W.B.*, Driller, J.H.*, Lutzkendorf, J.*, Reddy-Alla, S., Matkovic-Rachid, T., Liu, S., Knoche, S., Mertel, S., Ugorets, V.,
Lehmann, M., Ramesh, N., Beuschel, C.B., Kuropka, B, Freund, C., Stelzl, U., Loll, B., Liu, F., Wahl, M.C. and Sigrist, S.J.. (2020).
RIM-binding protein couples synaptic vesicle recruitment to release sites. J Cell Biol. 219

Böhme M.A., McCarthy A.W., Grasskamp A.T., Beuschel C.B., Goel P., Jusyte M., Laber D., Huang S., Rey U., Petzoldt A.G., Lehmann M., Göttfert F., Haghighi P.,
Hell S.W., Owald D., Dickman D., Sigrist S.J., Walter A.M.. (2019) ”Rapid active zone remodeling consolidates presynaptic potentiation.” Nat Commun. Mar 6;10(1).

Vukoja A, Rey U, Petzoldt AG (First-author), Ott C, Vollweiter D, Quentin C, Puchkov D, Reynolds E, Lehmann M, Hohensee S, Rosa S, Lipowsky R, Sigrist SJ, Haucke V.
Presynaptic Biogenesis Requires Axonal Transport of Lysosome-Related Vesicles
Neuron. 2018 Sep 19;99(6):1216-1232.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.08.004. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

Sigrist SJ, Petzoldt AG
„Neuroscience: “Nanocolumns at the heart oft he synapse.“
Nature. 2016 Aug 11;536(7615):151-2. News and Views. (IF: 38.13)

Petzoldt AG, Lützkendorf J, Sigrist SJ.
„Mechanisms controlling assembly and plasticity of presynaptic active zone scaffolds.“
Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2016 Aug;39:69-76. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2016.04.009. Review. (IF: 6.37) 

Lardong JA, Driller JH, Depner H, Weise C, Petzoldt A, Wahl MC, Sigrist SJ, Loll B.
„Structures of Drosophila melanogaster Rab2 and Rab3 bound to GMPPNP.”
Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun. 2015 Jan 1;71(Pt 1):34-40. 2015 Jan 1. (IF: 0.65) 

Petzoldt AG, Sigrist SJ.
Curr Biol. 2014 Nov 17;24(22):R1076-80. 2014 Nov 17. (IF:8.98) 

Petzoldt AG, Lee YH, Khorramshahi O, Reynolds E, Plested AJ, Herzel H, Sigrist SJ.
“Gating characteristics control glutamate receptor distribution and trafficking in vivo.”
Curr Biol. 2014 Sep 8;24(17):2059-65. 2014 Aug 14.(IF: 8.98) 

Petzoldt AG*, Gleixner EM*, Fumagalli A, Vaccari T, Simons M.
“Activation of the proton pump, V-ATPase, triggers JNK-dependent cell invasion and overgrowth in a Drosophila epithelium”.
Dis Model Mech. 2013 Jan 18. (IF: 4.32)
(* these authors contributed equally to this work) 

Coutelis JB, Géminard C, Spéder P, Suzanne M, Petzoldt AG, Noselli S.
“Drosophila left/right asymmetry establishment is controlled by the hox gene abdominal-B”.
Dev Cell. 2013 Jan 14;24(1):89-97. (IF: 9.33) 

Petzoldt AG, Coutelis JB, Géminard C, Spéder P, Suzanne M, Cerezo D, Noselli S.
“DE-Cadherin regulates unconventional Myosin ID and Myosin IC in Drosophila left-right asymmetry establishment“.
Development. 2012 May;139(10):1874-84. (IF: 6.06) 

Hermle, T*, Petzoldt* AG and Simons, M.
"The Role of Proton Transporters in epithelial Wnt signaling pathways".
Pediatr Nephrol. 2011 Sep;26(9):1523-7. (IF: 2.34)
(* alphabethical order, these authors contributed equally to this work) 

Suzanne M, Petzoldt AG, Spéder P, Coutelis J.B. and Noselli S.
"Coupling of apoptosis and L/R patterning controls stepwise organ looping".
Curr Biol. 2010 Oct 12; 20(19):1773-8 (IF: 8.98) This article was selected for the leading edge section of Cell 2010 Oct, 143: 5. 

Coutelis*, J.B., Petzoldt* AG, Spéder*, P., Suzanne*, M. & Noselli, S.
"Left-right asymmetry in Drosophila".
Semin Cell Dev Biol. Jun;19(3):252-62 (2008). (* alphabethical order, these authors contributed equally to this work) (IF: 5.18) 

Spéder*, P., Petzoldt* A , Suzanne*, M. & Noselli, S.
"Strategies to establish left/right asymmetry in vertebrates and invertebrates".
Curr Opin Genet Dev 17, 351-8 (2007). (IF: 5.78)(* these authors contributed equally to this work)