Neuromuscular and Cardiovascular Cell Biology


Head of the Group

Prof. Dr. Michael Gotthardt


A theory is something nobody believes, except the person who made it.

An experiment is something everybody believes, except the person who made it.

 - Albert Einstein, attributed



Mission Statement

The objective of the research group - Neuromusclular and Cardiovascular Cell Biology - is to increase our understanding of diseases that affect the heart and muscle and to develop novel therapeutic strategies.

Our goal is to motivate, train, and mentor scientists and physicians to build a research team that improves technology, builds and shares knowledge, and helps transfer scientific results from bench to bedside.


The Gotthardt-Lab:

At the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Buch we analyze the role of the giant muscle protein titin in detecting and transmitting mechanical signals (tension of muscle cells). The work of our lab will help to increase the understanding of the cause and progression of inherited heart and muscle diseases and aid in developing novel therapeutic strategies. Our long-term goal is to establish how mechanical input is translated into molecular signals.

To lay the groundwork for the in vivo analysis of titin’s multiple signaling, elastic, and adaptor domains, we have generated various titin deficient mice (knock-in and conditional knockout animals) and established a tissue culture system to study titin’s muscle and non-muscle functions. We utilize a combination of cell-biological, biochemical, and genetic tools to establish titin as a stretch sensor converting mechanical into biochemical signals.

Using a comparable loss of function approach we have created a conditional knockout of the coxsackie-adenovirus receptor. With these mice, we have demonstrated that CAR is crucial for embryonic development and determines the electrical properties of the heart.




04/01/2012 – RBM20 regulates titin splicing  (Nature Medicine)

01/01/2012 – Start  ERC

09/05/2011 – In Focus at JCB: Titin isn't a sleeping giant

01/01/2011 – Start Clinical Research Group 192 second funding period: Regulation and deregulation of muscle growth

01/09/2010 – Start DFG Research Group: Structure, Function and Regulation of the Myofibrillar Z-disc Interactome

01/11/2009 – 31/08/2013  MyoGrad: International Research Training Group for Myology

01/08/200830/06/2013  SFB/TR-19 "Inflammatory Cardiomyopathy" - second funding period