Cpyright: Dr. rer. nat. Robert Lindner/Neuroanatomie und Zellbiologie/MHH

Curriculum vitae

2000 to date                     

Research group leader at the Institute for Cell Biology, Hannover Medical School (since 2016 Institute for Neuroanatomy and Cell Biology)


Research group leader (C1) at the Institute for Genetics, University of Bonn


Post doctoral fellow in the research group of Dr. Emil Unanue at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO (USA)


Diploma- and PhD-thesis in the research group of Dr. Ernst Ungewickell at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry


Studies in Biology at the Technical University and the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich




1992-1994                         Research Stipend from the German Research Foundation  (DFG)

1985-1987                         Scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation

1982-1987                         Scholarship from the State of Bavaria



Teaching activities

  • Medicine: Entry level courses in Cell Biology and Microscopic Anatomy, lectures and seminars (2000- to date); Course coordination in Cell Biology (2011-2022);
  • Dentistry: Entry level course in Microscopic Anatomy and lectures (2020- to date);
  • Biomedicine/Master: Advanced course in Cell Biology, lectures and seminars (2006- to date); Course coordination (2014-2022);
  • Biochemistry/Master: Advanced course in Cell Biology, lectures and seminars (2006- to date); Course in Biochemical Techniques: Electron Microscopy (2015- to date);
  • Biology/BSc: Basic course in Immunology, lectures and seminars (1997-2011)
  • PhD-Program "Molecular Medicine": Seminar and tutorial on membrane domains (2002- to date);


Scientific Expertise

1.  Intracellular membrane transport

I developed an interest in intracellular transport during my study in Munich and began to work on coat proteins of clathrin-coated vesicles (CCVs) in Ernst Ungewickell's lab. CCVs are transport intermediates that sequester membranes in the form of small vesicles that enrich specific receptors along with their cargo. At the time they were the first example for selective membrane transport.

2. Antigen presentation und membrane domains

During postdoctoral training in Dr. Emil Unanues Labor in St. Louis, I investigated intracellular pathways that serve to load MHC class II molecules with antigens. In this project two distinct MHC class II loading pathways were identified that differed in the type of loading product (Lindner & Unanue, 1996). Subsequent work in my own research group centered on the access of MHC II molecules to their loading compartments. This provided the basis for the identification of the function of membrane domains in the intracellular transport of MHC molecules (Knorr et al., 2009). Work on membrane domains also revealed a novel function of the pleiotropic cytokine MIF that induced coalescence of membrane domains carrying B-cell receptors and invariant chain-MHC II complexes (reviewed in Lindner, 2017).

3. Pathomechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases

To build a bridge to neurobiology, we began to investigate how endocytosis is affected in Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA is a severe neurodegenerative disease of childhood that is triggered by degeneration of a-motor neurons in the spinal cord followed by atrophy of the connected skeletal muscles. Biochemically it is characterized by insufficient levels of SMN protein, whose primary alleles are mutated in SMA patients. We identified a novel macropinocytosis pathway in motor neurons that is upregulated in SMA. This results in enhanced internalization of BMP receptors and their degradation in lysosomes. Since BMP receptors are important for the maintenance of neuromuscular junctions, our results provide an explanation why these structures are affected in SMA. We also established a mechanistic link between low SMN levels and macropinocytosis by identifying a negative macropinocytosis regulator that is controlled by SMN. Future work will focus on the interaction of SMN with this regulatory protein, the newly described macropinocytosis pathway and the role of BMP receptor regulation in SMA.


Key references

  • Lindner, R. and Unanue, E.R. (1996). Distinct antigen-MHC class II-complexes generated by separate processing pathways. EMBO J. 15, 6910-6920.
  • Knorr, R., Karacsonyi, C. and Lindner, R. (2009) Endocytosis of MHC molecules by distinct membrane rafts. J. Cell Sci. 122, 1584-1594.
  • Lindner, R. (2017). Invariant chain complexes and clusters as platforms for MIF signaling. Cells 6, 6; doi:10.3390/cells6010006.


Online Profile

ORCID:                              0000-0002-6421-5778