Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - AG Zelluläre Biophysik

News Archive

From 2008 to 2023, the group was hosted at the Leibniz Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie in Buch. Here is an archive of the news from the time in Buch.

03.03.22 Yuchen and Andrew wrote a review about glutamate sensors. Seeing glutamate at central synapses

01.02.22 Jelena's paper on activation of AMPA receptors modified by the Con-Ikot-Ikot toxin is published! The action of Con-Ikot-Ikot toxin on single AMPA receptors

05.10.21 Nico and Andrew wrote a review about slow AMPA channels for the Journal of Physiology to accompany the symposium Glutamate Receptors: Structure, Function and Dysfunction. Many thanks to Derek Bowie and David Wyllie for organizing this stimulating online symposium. Link to the review: Slow excitatory synaptic currents generated by AMPA receptors

03.09.21 We are pleased to welcome new postdoc Sara Bertelli to the lab. Sara will work within on the DynIon consortium to investigate AMPA receptor permeation and modulation. Sara continues the proud and unbroken line of Italian members of the Plested lab. 

03.08.21 Nico's study of slow AMPA currents, postsynaptic STP and the diversity of synapses in CA1 region of the hippocampus is finally published. Slow AMPA receptors in hippocampal principal cells. Congrats to Nic and also to Anna and Irene who contributed so much to this project in its early days. 



6.7.20 Our last paper with lab legend Héctor Salazar is out, open access at Biophysical Journal. In this manuscript, Measurements of the Timescale and Conformational Space of AMPA receptor Desensitization, Hector crosslinked desensitizing receptors to count desensitized states and Sabrina Mischke made careful measurements of reovery to reveal these stable inactive states in wild-type GluA2. 

06.01.20 Our former collaborator, Benjamin König, has joined the lab for his postdoc. Benni joins us from Tobias Stauber's lab and will work on glutamate indicators and associated microscopes, funded by the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence. Welcome back to Buch, Benni!

1.12.19 Katerina Salivara has joined us for a six-month Erasmus+ visit and will work with Niccolò on excitatory synapses. She is our first ever Greek lab member. Welcome to Berlin, Katerina!

18.06.19 "A FRET sensor of C-terminal movement reveals VRAC activation by plasma membrane DAG signaling rather than ionic strength" is online at eLife, a collaboration with Benni König and Tobias Stauber. Yuchen Hao from our lab did the patch clamp fluorimetry to understand VRAC activation.

18.06.19 "Gating modules of the AMPA receptor pore domain revealed by unnatural amino acid mutagenesis" is online at PNAS. Congrats to Mette, Anahita, Vicky and Vale for all the hard work to complete this survey of the AMPA receptor pore domain. 

07.01.19 Niccolò has accepted an EMBO Long Term Fellowship. Congrats!

19.12.18 Andrew was very honoured to give the Gary Price Lecture at the annual meeting of the British Pharmacological Society. The lecture was entitled : "Glutamate Receptors : From structure to synapse". 

10.12.18 Our team from the Humboldt University was one of thirteen successful applicants in the DFG Innovative-Light-Microscopy competition. A modular, multichannel 2-photon microscope for optogenetics and imaging of neuronal activity will be built in the HU-Berlin Biophysics department. If you're interested to work with us on this project, get in touch!

6.12.18 Auxiliary subunits keep AMPA receptors compact during activation and desensitization

Jelena's paper about how Stargazin determines AMPA receptor structural dynamics is online at eLife. Congrats JB! You can read more about Jelena in this profile at Nature Communications.

1.7.18 Kordelia Hummel has joined the Plested lab to support our work on glutamate receptors. Kordelia comes to us from the Uckert lab at the MDC-Berlin, bringing her expertise in cell culture, biochemistry and molecular biology. We are very happy to welcome you to AG Plested, Kordelia!

15.5.18 Sabrina Mischke has joined us to work on glutamate receptor spectroscopy and imaging. Sabrina is a German native and a physicist by training. Welcome to Berlin, Sabrina!

1.4.18 AMPA receptors - mechanisms of auxiliary protein action

Clarissa and Andrew wrote a review about how auxiliary subunits work for a special issue of the new journal Current Opinions in Physiology. The AMPA-Receptor (structure from Twomey et al) made the cover too. 

15.3.18 Niccolo Pampaloni has joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Niccolo previously studied carbon nanotubes and their interactions with neurons at SISSA in Italy, and returns the lab to its normal resting potential of at least 2 Italians. Benvenuti a Berlino, Niccolo!

15.2.18 Iva Lučić has joined our lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Iva won a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship to study kinases and their relation to neurotransmission, as part of the DFG project TRR 186. Iva is our first Serbian lab member. Welcome to Berlin!

21.12.17Neurotransmitter Funneling Optimizes Glutamate Receptor Kinetics

Our computational and physiological study of glutamate binding to the AMPA receptor is online. Congratulations to Héctor and our collaborators Alvin Yu and Albert Lau from Johns Hopkins, USA. It's full open access, funded by the ERC project "GluActive". Check the movies, for example, glutamate binding to the receptor in the crystallographic conformation. This paper was recommended by F1000.

06.11.17 Saeid Abdolvand has joined us from Iran to do his PhD work in our DFG project "Dynion" with Han Sun. Welcome to Berlin, Saeid!

08.09.17 Control of AMPA receptor activity by the extracellular loops of auxiliary proteins

It's a Doppelpack from Irene and Clarissa, this time with Anna too. It's been on BiorXiv for a few months, but the final version of our latest  paper revealing mechanisms of glutamate receptor modulation is now out at eLife. Congrats to everyone.

02.09.17 Unitary Properties of AMPA Receptors with Reduced Desensitization

Our collaborative paper with Jim Howe and Wei Zhang, revealing unexpected mechanisms of desensitization in AMPA receptors, is online now at Biophysical Journal. PDB entry is here. Congrats to Clarissa and Irene. 

01.07.17 Johann Biedermann has joined the lab to do his PhD, and will be jointly supervised by Han Sun. This collaborative project is part of the DFG research group "DynIon". Welcome Johann!

26.06.17 The lab is on the move! Over the next few weeks, we will transfer to new labs in the Marthe-Vogt Haus - the main building of the FMP. 

17.02.17 Mechanism of partial agonism in AMPA-type glutamate receptors

Our paper on the relationship between partial agonists, conformational space and AMPA receptor activation is now online at Nature Communications. PDB entry is here. Congratulations to Hector, Clarissa and Miriam!

15.10.16 Sebastian Opfermann has joined us to do his PhD, studying glutamate receptors at the single channel level as part of our ERC funded project GluActive. Welcome Sebastian!

04.10.16 October seems to be Spanish month in the Plested lab. Alberto Gonzalez is visiting us from Tenerife, and Boris Bouazza is doing his first rotation of the Medical Neurosciences doctoral programme. Benvenidos a Berlín! 

20.08.16 Single Channel Recording of Ligand-Gated Ion Channels

topic introduction and protocol for single channel recording of glycine receptors are now available as part of the Ion Channels collection at Cold Spring Harbor Lab Protocols. These articles are based on the lectures and practical course held every year at CSHL. Thanks to Jelena for help with the protocol!

16.06.16 Structural rearrangement of the intracellular domains during AMPA receptor activation

Mila's paper describing patch-clamp fluorometry of AMPARs is online at PNAS Early Edition. This work was a collaboration with Anders Kristensen's lab in Copenhagen. Congratulations to all!

08.06.16Structural Mechanisms of activation and desensitisation in neurotransmitter-gated ion channels.

Andrew's review on receptors has been published in NSMB as part of a special issue on Membrane Proteins.

01.04.16 Sonja Minniberger has joined the lab to do her PhD on structural studies of glutamate receptors. Sonja did her Master's thesis with Hugues Nury in Grenoble and doubles our Austrian quota. Welcome to Buch, Sonja!

23.02.16 Dynamics of the ligand binding domain layer during AMPA receptor activation

Congratulations to Jelena, Miriam, Héctor and Anna for our latest paper which is now online at Biophysical Journal. 

08.01.16 Superactivation of AMPA Receptors by auxiliary proteins 

Our paper on the mechanism of action of TARPs is out at Nature Communications. Congratulations to Anna!

12.12.15 How to Build the Fastest Receptor on Earth

A review of AMPA receptor structural biology is online at Biological Chemistry. Congratulations, Jelena!

05.11.15 Anahita Poshtiban has joined the lab to do her PhD. Anahita is a Berliner born and bred and previously rotated in the lab as part of the Medical Neurosciences PhD Programme of the Charité. Welcome back, Anahita!

01.09.15 There are two new faces in the Plested lab. Yuchen Hao joins us from China to do his PhD, and Ronny Schäfer has returned to Germany from the Netherlands to work with Clarissa on our ERC project. Welcome lads!

15.07.15 Irene Riva has started her doctoral work on glutamate receptor biophysics with Anna Carbone. Our Italian quotient is boosted to three. Welcome Irene!  

01.07.15 The Plested lab has a new technician, and she's a native of these parts. A warm welcome to Antje Maluck, who is supporting our ERC project! 

09.02.15 The project "GluActive" was awarded the ERC Consolidator Grant, 2015. The entire Plested lab has contributed to this award, which will support biophysical studies of glutamate receptors for 5 years. FVB press release (in German). FMP press release (in English).

3.12.14 The cat is out of the box! Clarissa was awarded the prestigious Erwin-Schroedinger Overseas Fellowship of the Austrian Science Fund to pursue structural studies of glutamate receptors. Many congratulations, Clarissa!

15.11.14 Two new members have joined the Plested lab. Deb Chowdury has joined Anna to work on her NeuroCure project, and is our first Indian. From closer to home, Sabine Sauer has joined us as an undergraduate lab assistant. Welcome both! 

01.07.14 Don't Flip Out: AChRs are primed to Catch and Hold Your Attention

Obligatory punning title and a precis of nicotinic receptor gating in a page and a half. New and Notable from Andrew on the latest paper in BJ from the Auerbach lab.

01.04.14 Mette Poulsen has joined the Plested lab. Mette has won a Carlsberg Fellowship to work on putting unnatural amino acids into glutamate receptors. Her arrival doubles our Danish contingent. Welcome, Mette!

01.02.14 Anna has been awarded a presitigious postdoctoral fellowship ("Habilitationsstipendium") from the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence to continue her work in the Plested lab and transition to independent research. Congratulations Anna, well deserved!

15.01.14 Photoinactivation of glutamate receptors by genetically encoded unnatural amino acids

The latest paper from the Plested lab is online now at the Journal of Neuroscience. Congratulations to Vicky, Vale and Marcus. 

1.10.13 Clarissa Eibl has joined the Plested lab. Clarissa is our first Austrian, and will work on the structural biology of glutamate receptors during her postdoc. Welcome Clarissa!

8.8.13 A Conformational Intermediate in Glutamate Receptor Activation

Our latest paper about glutamate receptor activation, a collaboration with Albert Lau and Benoit Roux, is out at Neuron. Congratulations to Héctor and Vale. See also Johns Hopkins Press Release

8.7.13 Andrew enjoyed meeting friends old and new during two weeks of teaching on the UCL single channel course and the Ion Channel structure and function course in Bilbao.

12.7.13 Glycine Receptor clusters on the Ion Channels and Synaptic Transmission course at CSHL.

22.5.13 Bilal Bagha has joined the Plested lab to do his final undergraduate project. Our first Canadian. Welcome Bilal

15.03.13 Andrew chaired a symposium (with Jana Kusch, Jena) at the German Neuroscience Meeting in Goettingen (NWG) entitled "Optodynamics of Receptors and Channels". Pictures on the photo page

13.03.2013 The website is now live for a workshop on Molecular and Cellular Imaging that will be held in Tenerife, Spain this coming October 24-26th. Check out the speaker list.Doing Biology with Light

13.03.2013 State-dependent FRET reports calcium- and voltage-dependent gating-ring motions in BK channels

The latest paper from the lab - a collaboration with Teresa Giraldez and Miguel Holmgren - is online at PNAS.

01.09.2012 Vera Martos-Riano has joined the Plested Lab as a postdoc. Welcome to our first Spaniard!

25.7.2012 Ljudmila Katchan has been awarded a prestigious Boehringer Ingleheim PhD Fellowship. Many congratulations, Mila!

10.7.2012 Miriam has obtained her first crystals - the first for the lab. Better still, one crystal diffracted beyond 1.3Å at BESSY. Check out a photo of one of the drops here.

25.6.2012 The 10th Summer Workshop on Single Channel Mechanisms at UCL ran a lot earlier this year, to avoid the Olympics. Great students as usual, and Andrew had a lot of fun passing on the Colquhoun and Hawkes matrix algebra. Photo.

14.6.2012 Andrew had a wonderful time teaching single channels on the Cold Spring Harbor Ion Channels and Synaptic Physiology Course. Photos of excited students recording clusters of glycine receptor activations are here.

10.6.2012 Coupled Control of Gating and Desensitization by the Ligand Binding Domain of Glutamate Receptors

Anna's paper is now online at Neuron.

1.4.2012 Jelena Baranovic has begun her postdoc in the Plested Lab. Our first Croatian biophysicist! Welcome to Berlin, Jelena.

15.2.2012 Miriam Chebli has joined the lab to do her PhD on structural biology of glutamate receptors. Welcome Miriam!

25.1.2012 Multiple Intermediate States in the Gating of Glycine Receptors

The latest paper from the lab is out at the Journal of Neuroscience

23.1.2012  Mila Katchan has joined the Plested lab to do her thesis on glutamate receptor biophysics. Welcome to our first Danish lab member!

1.8.2011  Andrew enjoyed teaching matrix maths at the 9th Summer Course on Single Channel Mechanisms at UCL. Photo and other links on DC's blog

15.04.2011   Valentina Ghisi has joined the Plested lab as a technical specialist. Welcome Vale!

29.03.2011   Héctor Salazar has been awarded the prestigious HFSP Long Term Fellowship to study glutamate receptor biophysics in the Plested lab. Congratulations, Héctor!

8.3.2011     Andrew had a great time in Baltimore at the Biophysical Society Meeting, presenting work on the K276E mutant glycine receptor.

2.2.2011     Software written for our research is now available through the DC-Pyps libraries. Check out the Software page for more details

23.12.2010     Viktoria Klippenstein has been awarded a PhD stipend from the Charité International Graduate Programme in Medical Neurosciences. Well done, Vicky!

10.12.2010      Héctor Salazar has won a Marie Curie Incoming International Fellowship to study glutamate receptor biophysics. Congratulations, Héctor!

11.10.2010      Kainate Receptor Modulation by Sodium and Chloride

A book chapter about ion modulation of kainate receptors is now available online.

15.07.2010     Héctor Salazar has joined the lab as a Postdoc. Welcome to Berlin, Héctor.

15.05.2010      Viktoria Klippenstein has joined the lab as a PhD student. Welcome Vicky!

20.04.2010     Domain organization and function in GluK2 subtype kainate receptors

The first paper from the lab is now out at PNAS.

31.10.2009     How to button a bouton with alpha-2-deltas

News and Views in Nature Neuroscience. Check out the original article by Kurshan et al.

13.10.2009      Symposium: 'Ligand Gated Channels Come of Age'

Physiological Society Main Meeting, Manchester, UK. 30th June - 2nd July, 2010

This symposium will bring together some of the best research in receptor structure and function. It is organised by Lucia Sivilotti and Andrew Plested. Check out the list of confirmed speakers:

Link to symposium

General Information about the meeting