Prof. Dr. Christian Janzen
Phone: 0931 31 86685
Christian Janzen is a molecular parasitologist whose main interest lies in epigenetic mechanisms during the development of protozoan parasites. He studied biology at the RWTH in Aachen but moved to the University of Freiburg to receive his PhD in Virology. During his postdoctoral term at the Rockefeller University in New York he started to work on chromatin structure in African trypanosomes. In 2006, he became an independent group leader at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in Munich. Shortly after his habilitation in Genetics at the LMU in 2011, Christian Janzen was appointed Professor at the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Wuerzburg.
Research synopsis. Already as a student, Christian Janzen became fascinated by the sophisticated mechanisms that pathogens developed to invade the defense machinery of their hosts. After 3 months of field work in Uganda he decided to focus his future research on pathogens of tropical diseases. As a PhD student he tried to unravel how hemorrhagic RNA viruses turn off the interferon-induced host defense after infection. Christian Janzen continued to work on pathogen-host interactions when he started his post-doctoral studies. At the Rockefeller University, he established the foundations for current projects in his group with pioneer work on post-translational histone modifications and their influence on chromatin structure in African trypanosomes. Currently, Christian Janzen is using this parasite as a model organism to unravel how cells are able to adapt to extremely different environments when they shuttle between different host organisms. Trypanosomes have to adapt their morphology, metabolism and energy sources during a complex life cycle in different hosts and changes in chromatin structure and nuclear architecture have been observed during this process. Several nuclear proteins that are essential for differentiation are in the focus of research in his laboratory. Recently, he has been employing high-throughput proteomic techniques to understand how changes in chromatin structure are regulated during developmental differentiation in T. brucei and why they are necessary for this process.
Five important publications
Quantitative proteomics uncovers novel factors involved in developmental differentiation of Trypanosoma brucei.
Dejung M, Subota I, Bucerius F, Dindar G, Freiwald A, Engstler M, Boshart M, Butter F & Janzen CJ
PLoS Pathogen 2016 12(2): doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005439
Structure-guided mutational analysis reveals the functional requirements for product specificity of DOT1 enzymes.
Dindar G, Anger AM, Mehlhorn C, Hake SB, Janzen CJ.
Nat Commun. 2014 Nov 12;5:5313. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6313.
Comparative proteomics of two life cycle stages of stable isotope-labeled Trypanosoma brucei reveals novel components of the parasite's host adaptation machinery.
Butter F, Bucerius F, Michel M, Cicova Z, Mann M, Janzen CJ.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2013 Jan;12(1):172-9. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M112.019224. Epub 2012 Oct 22.
DOT1A-dependent H3K76 methylation is required for replication regulation in Trypanosoma brucei.
Gassen A, Brechtefeld D, Schandry N, Arteaga-Salas JM, Israel L, Imhof A, Janzen CJ.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Nov 1;40(20):10302-11. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks801. Epub 2012 Aug 31.
Epigenetic regulation in African trypanosomes: a new kid on the block.
Figueiredo LM, Cross GA, Janzen CJ.
Nat Rev Microbiol. 2009 Jul;7(7):504-13. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2149.