Das Genetik-Labor wird Dezember 2015 komplett geschlossen. Kontakt Wolfgang Nellen ... hier.

The genetics laboratory of Prof. Wolfgang Nellen will be completely closed in December 2015. Prof. Nellen has no more functions in teaching and administration at Kassel University. No more applications for PhD theses or postdoctoral trainings will be accepted.

Wolfgang Nellen is still affiliated with Kassel University but serves now as guest professor in Indonesia. Present address:


Wolfgang Nellen

Prof. of Genetics

Johann Gottfried Herder Fellow

Faculty of Mathematics & Natural Sciences

Brawijaya University

Jl. Veteran, Malang 65145, East Java



mobile (Indonesia): (+62) (0)822 1320 0275








Nähere Informationen zukünftiger Lehrveranstaltungen der neuen Entwicklungsgenetik ab 1.10.2015 erhalten Sie bei

Prof. Dr. Arno Müller            

Info zum Bild

In the presence of a food source Dictyostelium amoeba are unicellular. On starvation some cells start to emit cAMP and the other cells chemotax towards them (A). The Streaming cells (B) form mounds of up to 1x105 cells. The mound of aggregated cells forms a tip and then develops into a slug consisting of pre-stalk cells at the anterior, and pre-spore cells at the posterior (stained blue in panel C). The slug migrates towards an area that will favour spore dispersal and then culminates to form a fruiting body on a stalk (D). The spores after dispersal will germinate when food is again available. (M. Dubin, Dissertation Uni Kassel, 2010)

After the DNA of the human genome and that of many other model organisms has been completely sequenced it seemed like the “book of life” was now at our disposal. However, it is now clear that an enourmous amount of epigenetic information is superimposed on the genetic code. This is implemented by cytosine methylation, a process that modifies DNA differently in different stages of development and in different cell types. In addition, the packaging of DNA in chromatin plays a major role in its availability to the transcription machinery: modification of nucleosomal histones, the “histone code”, dictates chromosomal structure and mediates the assembly of heterochromatin and euchromatin.

Some of the DNA that has so far been regarded as “junk” now turns out to encode small regulatory RNAs (miRNAs) that regulate gene expression posttranscriptionally. MiRNAs are closely related to siRNAs that have gained special attention when the Nobel Prize 2006 was awarded to A. Fire and C. Mello, the dicoverers of RNA interference. Interestingly, small regulatory RNAs are also involved in chromatin organization and thus part of the epigenetic machinery.

The Genetics Group at Kassel University investigates the mechanisms of RNA interference and chromatin remodelling in the single cell eukaryotic model organism Dictyostelium discoideum.