Professor Dr. Walter Witke

Institute of Genetics
University of Bonn
Karlrobert Kreiten Str. 13
D- 53115 Bonn

Phone +49  (0) 228 73-4211


Curriculum vitae Professor Dr. Walter Witke

Research Interests

The central question we are addressing is how the actin cytoskeleton and dynamic changes of cell structure and neuronal migration control brain development and physiology. Our main focus is on protein complexes, which control the polymerization and depolymerization of actin filaments and the de novo formation (nucleation) of actin filaments. Key regulators we are working on are the actin binding proteins of the profilin and ADF/cofilin family as well as the WAVE/Cyfip-complex. We are interested in elucidating the role of these proteins and complexes in synaptic plasticity, homeostasis of the brain and related disorders such as autism and mental retardation. We use genetic mouse models and employ a broad spectrum of cell biology and molecular methods to approach these questions.


Conditional mutagenesis in the mouse, behavioural studies, electrophysiology, primary neuron culture analysis, live cell microscopy.

5 most important publications

1. Flynn K, Neukirchen D, Jacobs S, Tahirovic S, Garvalov BK, Meyn L,Gurniak CB,Wedlich-Söldner R, Small JV, Witke W, Bradke F. (2012) ADF/cofilinmediated actin turnover directs neurite formation in the developing brain through its severing activity. Neuron, 76(6): 1091-1107.

2. Rust M, Gurniak C, Renner M, Vara H, Morando L, Görlich A, Sassoe-Pognetto M, Al Banchaabouchi M, Giustetto M, Triller A, Choquet D, Witke W. (2010) Learning, AMPA receptor mobility and synaptic plasticity depend on n-cofilinmediated actin dynamics. EMBO J, 29(11): 1889-1902.

3. Napoli I, Mercaldo V, Eleuteri B, Zalfa F, Di Marino D, Herlo R, Mohr E, Massimi M, Falconi M, Witke W, Costa-Mattioli M, Sonenberg N, Achsel T, Bagni C. (2008) The Fragile X mental retardation protein represses activity-dependent mRNA translation through Cyfip1/Sra1, a new neuronal 4E-BP. Cell, 134(6): 1042-1054.

4. Bellenchi GC, Gurniak C, Perlas E, Middei S, Ammassari-Teul M, Witke W. (2007) N-cofilin is associated with neuronal migration disorders and cell cycle control in the cerebral cortex. Genes&Development, 21(18): 2347-2357.

5. Pilo-Boyl P, Di Nardo A, Kneussel M, Sassoe-Pognetto M, Panzanelli P, Witke, W. (2007) Profilin2 contributes to synaptic vesicle exocytosis, neuronal excitability, and novelty-seeking behaviour. EMBO J, 26(12): 2991-2902.