Joined the Department in 2016
- Dipl. Biol, 1978, University of Gießen (Gießen, Germany), Studies in Biology
- Teaching Certificate, 1979, University of Gießen (Gießen, Germany), Biology and Chemistry
- Dr. rer. nat., 1980, University of Gießen (Gießen, Germany), Genetics
- Habilitation, 1988, Ludwig-Maximilian-University (Munich, Germany), Faculty of Biology
My main research interests are molecular processes in organismic development and their malfunction in cancerogenesis.
One major topic of my laboratory is the understanding of signal transduction and gene regulation in cancer, in particular melanoma. Malignant melanoma is one of the most dangerous tumors with an incidence rising faster than any type of cancer worldwide. We use the classical Xiphophorus model system and transgenic medaka that develop different types of pigment cell tumors. With the established tools of biochemistry and molecular genetics as well as high throughput and deep sequencing methods (RNA-seq, CHiP-seq, RAD-tags) we want to better understand the molecular mechanisms that make a normal pigment cell turn into a malignant cancer cells and provide on this basis novel approaches for better diagnoses and therapies.
A second major interest is in the molecular basis and evolution of sex determination. Sex can be determined by a plethora of mechanisms and the different mechanisms do not follow a phylogenetic pattern. Particularly in fish, sex determination is highly variable, sometimes even among closely related species. We want to understand the reasons why this variability exists and what molecular changes are involved. We use a comparative approach studying various fish species. This includes developmental biological studies on the processes that make the decision in the embryo or larvae if the undifferentiated bipotential gonad will develop either as testis or ovary laboratory model fish species. Besides we try to identify the unknown sex determination genes from fish that are representing major branches of the fish tree of life and are of interest because of special ecological, evolutionary or economic features.
Because the function of any gene is shaped by its evolutionary history and its genomic context we are interested in the evolution of genes involved in cancer, pigmentation, sex determination and reproductive development. The opportunities offered by the next generation sequencing technologies allow to obtain the full genome information now also for interesting species besides the mainstream laboratory models, which offers new insights into their evolution and biology.
We are members of several international consortia (some initiated and coordinated by us) for the de-novo sequencing, assembly and annotation of fish genomes, which include our melanoma model organism, the platyfish Xiphophorus maculatus, the Amazon molly, a unisexual clonal fish species, two marine flatfish, two cyprinid species, the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae, the lungfish and several others. We analyze the genomes with a special attention to the evolution of genes and gene families, which are of our interest from the cancer projects and the evolution of sex determination mechanisms and sex chromosomes. Major focuses are gene and whole genome duplications as important drivers of evolutionary innovations and adaptations. We are also interested how several traits like secondary sex characters, the age of sexual maturation (puberty) or pigmentation patterns evolve and have an impact on speciation.
- Regneri, J, Klotz, B, Wilde, B, Kottler, VA, Hausmann, M, Kneitz, S et al.. Analysis of the putative tumor suppressor gene cdkn2ab in pigment cells and melanoma of Xiphophorus and medaka. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2018; :. doi: 10.1111/pcmr.12729. PubMed PMID:30117276 .
- Kunz, M, Löffler-Wirth, H, Dannemann, M, Willscher, E, Doose, G, Kelso, J et al.. RNA-seq analysis identifies different transcriptomic types and developmental trajectories of primary melanomas. Oncogene. 2018; :. doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0385-y. PubMed PMID:29995873 .
- Guselnikov, SV, Baranov, KO, Najakshin, AM, Mechetina, LV, Chikaev, NA, Makunin, AI et al.. Diversity of Immunoglobulin Light Chain Genes in Non-Teleost Ray-Finned Fish Uncovers IgL Subdivision into Five Ancient Isotypes. Front Immunol. 2018;9 :1079. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.01079. PubMed PMID:29892283 PubMed Central PMC5985310.
- Biscotti, MA, Adolfi, MC, Barucca, M, Forconi, M, Pallavicini, A, Gerdol, M et al.. A Comparative View on Sex Differentiation and Gametogenesis Genes in Lungfish and Coelacanths. Genome Biol Evol. 2018;10 (6):1430-1444. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evy101. PubMed PMID:29850809 PubMed Central PMC6007259.
- Kottler, VA, Schartl, M. The Colorful Sex Chromosomes of Teleost Fish. Genes (Basel). 2018;9 (5):. doi: 10.3390/genes9050233. PubMed PMID:29751562 PubMed Central PMC5977173.
- Warren, WC, García-Pérez, R, Xu, S, Lampert, KP, Chalopin, D, Stöck, M et al.. Clonal polymorphism and high heterozygosity in the celibate genome of the Amazon molly. Nat Ecol Evol. 2018;2 (4):669-679. doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0473-y. PubMed PMID:29434351 PubMed Central PMC5866774.
- Schartl, M, Schories, S, Wakamatsu, Y, Nagao, Y, Hashimoto, H, Bertin, C et al.. Sox5 is involved in germ-cell regulation and sex determination in medaka following co-option of nested transposable elements. BMC Biol. 2018;16 (1):16. doi: 10.1186/s12915-018-0485-8. PubMed PMID:29378592 PubMed Central PMC5789577.
- Lu, Y, Boswell, M, Boswell, W, Kneitz, S, Hausmann, M, Klotz, B et al.. Comparison of Xiphophorus and human melanoma transcriptomes reveals conserved pathway interactions. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2018;31 (4):496-508. doi: 10.1111/pcmr.12686. PubMed PMID:29316274 PubMed Central PMC6013346.
- Klotz, B, Kneitz, S, Regensburger, M, Hahn, L, Dannemann, M, Kelso, J et al.. Expression signatures of early-stage and advanced medaka melanomas. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. C Toxicol. Pharmacol. 2018;208 :20-28. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2017.11.005. PubMed PMID:29162497 PubMed Central PMC5936653.
- Passow, CN, Henpita, C, Shaw, JH, Quackenbush, CR, Warren, WC, Schartl, M et al.. The roles of plasticity and evolutionary change in shaping gene expression variation in natural populations of extremophile fish. Mol. Ecol. 2017;26 (22):6384-6399. doi: 10.1111/mec.14360. PubMed PMID:28926156 .
- Passow, CN, Brown, AP, Arias-Rodriguez, L, Yee, MC, Sockell, A, Schartl, M et al.. Complexities of gene expression patterns in natural populations of an extremophile fish (Poecilia mexicana, Poeciliidae). Mol. Ecol. 2017;26 (16):4211-4225. doi: 10.1111/mec.14198. PubMed PMID:28598519 PubMed Central PMC5731456.
- Chen, T, Cavari, B, Schartl, M, Hong, Y. Identification and Expression of Conserved and Novel RNA Variants of Medaka pax6b Gene. J. Exp. Zool. B Mol. Dev. Evol. 2017;328 (5):412-422. doi: 10.1002/jez.b.22742. PubMed PMID:28547909 .
- Liu, H, Chen, C, Gao, Z, Min, J, Gu, Y, Jian, J et al.. The draft genome of blunt snout bream (Megalobrama amblycephala) reveals the development of intermuscular bone and adaptation to herbivorous diet. Gigascience. 2017;6 (7):1-13. doi: 10.1093/gigascience/gix039. PubMed PMID:28535200 PubMed Central PMC5570040.
- Maurus, K, Hufnagel, A, Geiger, F, Graf, S, Berking, C, Heinemann, A et al.. The AP-1 transcription factor FOSL1 causes melanocyte reprogramming and transformation. Oncogene. 2017;36 (36):5110-5121. doi: 10.1038/onc.2017.135. PubMed PMID:28481878 .
- Lu, Y, Boswell, M, Boswell, W, Kneitz, S, Hausmann, M, Klotz, B et al.. Molecular genetic analysis of the melanoma regulatory locus in Xiphophorus interspecies hybrids. Mol. Carcinog. 2017;56 (8):1935-1944. doi: 10.1002/mc.22651. PubMed PMID:28345808 PubMed Central PMC5767473.