Martin W. Hetzer, Ph.D.

Title
Hearst Endowment Professor
Department
Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory
Institution
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Address
10010 North Torrey Pines Road
City, State, Zip
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone
(858) 453-4100 x1419
E-mail
hetzer[at]salk.edu
Website
http://hetzer.salk.edu/
Research Field
Cell Biology
Award Year
2005

Research

We are interested in the organization and assembly of the nuclear envelope during development and cell proliferation. Our lab is focusing on understanding the molecular basis of nuclear assembly and its regulation during cell division. The formation of the nuclear envelope is a step-wise process of remarkable complexity involving chromatin decondensation, membrane reorganization, and nuclear pore complex assembly. We are using live cell imaging, biochemistry and genetic tools, as well as Xenopus leavis and mammalian cell-free systems, to study various aspects of nuclear formation. Additionally we are interested in the complexity of nuclear envelope function during muscle- and neuronal cell differentiation. Mammalian nuclei are complex organelles, whose functions depend largely on a spatial, higher order organization of chromatin. Anchorage of chromatin at the nuclear periphery and its three-dimensional organization within the nuclear interior may regulate cell type- and differentiation-specific gene expression. The recent identification of mutations in nuclear envelope proteins in a number of human diseases highlights the importance of understanding nuclear envelope assembly and structure.