Biography

York-Christoph Ammon is a PhD student in the lab of Prof. Anna Akhmanova. He studied molecular biomedicine in Bonn, Germany, and was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in summer 2012. During his bachelor thesis, he worked in the lab of Prof. Christa E. Mueller. The scope of his bachelor thesis were structure-activity-relationship studies of novel adenosine A2A receptor antagonists. Afterwards, he studied Drug Research in Bonn. For his master thesis he worked again under the supervision of Prof. Christa E. Mueller. The topic of his master thesis was the implementation of proximity ligation assays to detect heterodimeric receptor complexes consisting of adenosine A2A and adenosine A2B receptors. In summer 2015, he was awarded a Master of Science degree. After a three-month internship at Tuebingen University in the lab of Prof. Achim Hoerauf, he started his PhD in the lab of Prof. Anna Akhmanova in January 2016.

Outline of my project

York’s research focuses on understanding the relation between focal adhesions (FAs), integrin-mediated cell-matrix adhesions, and so called cortical microtubule stabilizing complexes (CMSCs), which consist of LL5beta (a PIP3-binding protein), liprins alpha1 and beta1, and a coiled-coil adaptor protein ELKS/ERC1. These CMSCs form micrometer-sized patch-like structures at the cell cortex and are located in the vicinity of focal adhesions; yet, FAs and CMSCs do not overlap with each other. A particular focus lies on the role of the family of KN motif and Ankyrin repeat domains containing (KANK) proteins. For two members of the KANK family, KANK1 and KANK2, it was shown that both proteins can bind to talin, an adaptor protein and a major component of focal adhesions; thus, the KANKs are a direct link between focal adhesions and cortical microtubule stabilizing complexes. Furthermore, it was shown that KANK1 is important for the correct assembly of the CMSC in the vicinity of FAs. In the following, a major goal of York’s research is to gain deeper insight into the relationship between FAs and CMSCs and to analyze how these complexes are organized in 3D cell cultures.