Anne K. Meyer

Characterization of fetal mouse neural stem cells.




Neural stem (progenitor) cells (NPCs) from fetal tissue are an ideal transplantable cell source. They divide rapidly, are able to generate cells of all three neural lineages and do not divide uncontrolled once transplanted into a host organism. To obtain large quantities of cells for transplantation strategies and to eliminate primary cell contaminations, long periods of in vitro cultivation are necessary.


Mouse NPCs are a crucial tool for further investigations of neural stem cells because they make the employment of transgenic animals in vivo and cells in vitro possible. So far only short-term expanded fetal mouse NPCs have been shown to generate dopaminergic neurons and it is not clear whether this was due to differentiation or a result of increased survival of primary dopaminergic neurons.


Long-term expanded fetal mesencephalic NPCs can be grown under suspension and adherent culture conditions and show self-renewing capacity as well as markers typical for NPCs.

I focus on two coherent issues: the precise characterization of progenitor populations to find out which in vitro conditions need to be provided to keep the balance between proliferation and differentiation potential. I also want to prove true differentiation of dopaminergic neurons in vitro. The knowledge gained about stem cells this way would help establish cell sources for transplantation strategies.

Role of Lrrk2 in controlling the phenotype of predopaminergic neural stem cells.




A recent key finding in Parkinson’s disease was the identification of the protein kinase LRRK2 (also referred to as PARK8) as a causative gene for sporadic as well as autosomal-dominant familial parkinsonism. At present, a unifying hypothesis for the pathogenic mechanisms of Lrrk2 protein is still sought after.


However, we found first evidence for the involvement of Lrrk2 in controlling the proliferation/cell cycle of predopaminergic neural stem cells (NSCs).


The objectives of the present project are to study the role of physiological, wild-type Lrrk2 in predopaminergic progenitor cells and to develop a relevant cell culture model of Parkinson’s disease by using over-expression of a mutated form of the Lrrk2 gene. I investigate the effects of Lrrk2 expression and mutation on proliferation, differentiation and survival of mouse predopaminergic NSCs.

These data will allow us to dissect the actions of Lrrk2 during the development of the dopaminergic system.

Name:                Anne K. Meyer



2009  Dr. rer. nat. (Biologie) at TU Dresden about: „Intracellular signaling pathways in the dopaminergic specification of fetal mesencephalic stem cells.“
2004 Dipl.-Ing. (Biotechnologie) at TU Berlin.
Research experience: 
2009-present Postdoc in Experimental Neurology (AG Storch)
2004-2009 Ph.D. Thesis in Experimental Neurology; (AG Storch)
2003/04 Diploma Thesis at Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany (AG Scharff/AG Vingron)
2003 Student Research Project, Dept. Microbiology and Genetics at TU Berlin, Germany


Meyer AK, Maisel M, Hermann A, Stirl K, Storch A.
J Neurol Sci. 2009 Sep 3. [Epub ahead of print]


Sabolek M, Baumann B, Heinrich M, Meyer AK, Herborg A, Liebau S, Maisel M, Hermann A, Ventz K, Schwarz J, Wirth T, Storch A.

Stem Cells. 2009 Aug;27(8):2009-21.


Milosevic J, Schwarz SC, Ogunlade V, Meyer AK, Storch A, Schwarz J.

Mol Neurodegener. 2009 Jun 15;4:25.