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Walter Steffen

PD Dr. rer. nat.



Tel: 2754



1998 -1999 Department für Biochemie, Universität Wien


2000 Habilitation an der Universität Rostock

Thema: Die Elemente des Cytoskeletts und ihre Funktionen, Fachbereich Biowissenschaften, Habilitation im Fach Zellbiologie.


bis 2005 Kings College London - University of London


seit 2005 an der Medizinischen Hochschule Hannover.


Aktuelle Projekte:


Forschungsbericht 2011 , Forschungsbericht 2012 , Forschungsbericht 2013, Forschungsbericht 2014





Charakterisierung der Motormechanik einzelner Dyneinmoleküle mit Hilfe der optischen Falle.

Kooperationspartner: Koonce M, Wadsworth Center, Albany, NY, USA; Förderung: DFG

Forschungsberichte: 2008 , 2010

Molekulare Grundlage der Funktionsweise von Myosin 2.

Kooperation: Manstein D, MHH, Chantler P Royal Veterinary School, London, UK.

Forschungsberichte: 2008 , 2009 2010

Charakterisierung prozessiver Myosine mittels TIRF-Mikroskopie und Laserfalle.

Kooperation: Manstein D, Tsiavaliaris G, Abt. Biophysikalische Chemie, MHH; Förderung: DFG-Forschergruppe 'Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Motility'

Forschungsberichte: 2008 , 2009 , 2010


Single molecule studies of the dynein/dynactin complex

Forschungsberichte: 2005 , 2007, 2010

3D reconstruction of the dynactin complex and modeling the structure of the dynactin backbone Forschungsberichte: 2005 , 2006 , 2007

In vitro assays zur funktionellen Charakterisierung von Motorproteinen auf Einzelmolekülebene Forschungsberichte: 2005 , 2006 , 2007


Drittmittel für Forschungsprojekte:


»Die Motormechanik der Motordomäne des cytoplasmatischen Dynein«

»Die molekulare Basis der Funktion von Myosin 2«

»DFG-Research Group FOR 629: Molecular Mechanisms of Cellular Motility.»





  • 1.Steffen, W. & Fuge, H. (1982) Dynamic changes in autosomal spindle fibres during prometaphase in crane fly spermatocytes. Chromosoma 87: 363-371
  • 2.Fuge, H., Bastmeyer, M. & Steffen, W. (1985) A model for chromosome movement based on lateral interaction of spindle microtubules. J. Theoret. Biol. 115: 391-399
  • 3.Steffen, W. & Fuge, H. (1985) Three-dimensional architecture of chromosome fibres in crane fly: amphitelic autosomal univalents in late prometaphase. Cytobios 43: 199-212
  • 4.Steffen, W., Fuge, H., Dietz, R., Bastmeyer, M., & Müller, G. (1986) Aster-free spindle pole in insect spermatocytes: Evidence for chromosome induced spindle formation? J. Cell Biol. 102: 1679-1688
  • 5.Steffen, W. (1986) Three-dimensional architecture of chromosome fibres in crane fly: co-oriented autosomal bivalents and amphitelic sex univalents. Chromosoma 94: 107-114
  • 6.Steffen, W. (1986) Relationship between the arrangement of microtubules and chromosome behaviour of syntelic autosomal univalents during prometaphase in crane fly spermatocytes. Chromosoma 94: 412-418
  • 7.Bastmeyer, M., Steffen, W., & Fuge, H. (1986) Immunostaining of spindle components in tipulid spermatocytes using a serum against pericentriolar material. Europ. J. Cell Biol. 42: 305-310
  • 8.Linck, R.W., Goggin, M.J., Norrander, J.M., & Steffen, W. (1987) Characterization of antibodies as probes for structural and biochemical studies of tektins from ciliary and flagellar microtubules. J Cell Sci. 88, 453-466
  • 9.Steffen, W. & Linck, R.W. (1988) Evidence for tektins in centrioles and axonemal microtubules. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 85, 2643-2647
  • 10.Steffen, W. & Linck, R.W. (1989) Tektins in ciliary and flagellar microtubules and their association with other cytoskeletal systems. In: Cell Movement, vol. 2, Kinesin, Dynein and Microtubule Dynamics. eds. FD Warner, JR McIntosh. (Alan Liss), pp 67-81
  • 11.Steffen, W. & Linck, R.W. (1989) Multiple Immunoblot: A sensitive technique to stain proteins and detect multiple antigens on a single 2-D replica. Electrophoresis 10, 714-718
  • 12.Steffen, W. & Linck, R.W. (1989) Relationship between tektins and intermediate filament proteins: an immunological study. Cell Motil. Cytoskel. 14, 359-371
  • 13.Steffen, W. & Linck, R.W. (1992) Evidence for a non-tubulin spindle matrix and spindle components immunologically related to tektin filaments. J. Cell Sci. 101, 809-822
  • 14.Steffen, W., Fajer, E., & Linck, R.W. (1994) Centrosomal components immunologically related to tektins from ciliary and flagellar microtubules. J. Cell Sci. 107, 2095-2105
  • 15.Steffen, W., Hodgkinson, J.L., & Wiche, G. (1996) Immunogold-localisation of the intermediate chain within the protein complex of cytoplasmic dynein. J. Struct. Biol. 117, 227-235
  • 16.Hodgkinson, J.L. & Steffen, W. (1997) The effect of tetradecyl sodium sulfate on protein mobility and antigen detectability in sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Electrophoresis 18, 1955-1959.
  • 17.Steffen, W., Karki, S., Vaughan, K.T., Vallee, R.B., Holzbaur, L.E., Weiss, D.G., & Kuznetsov, S.A. (1997) The 74-kD intermediate chain of cytoplasmic dynein is involved in binding the motor to membranous organelles. Molec. Biol. Cell 8, 2077-2088.
  • 18.Steffen, W., Langford, G.M., Weiss, D.G., & Kuznetsov, S.A. (1997) Inhibition of microtubule-dependent, minus-end directed transport of axoplasmic organelles by a dynein intermediate chain-specific antibody. Biol. Bulletin. 193, 221-222.
  • 19.Palazzo, R.E., Vaisberg, E.A., Weiss, D.G., Kuznetsov, S.A. & Steffen, W. (1999) Dynein is required for spindle assembly in cytoplasmic extracts of Spisula solidissima oocytes. J. Cell Sci. 112, 1292-1302.
  • 20.Rogers, S.L., Karcher, R.L., Roland, J.T., Minin, A.A., Steffen, W., & Gelfand, V.I. (1999) Regulation of melanosome movement by myosin-V throughout the cell cycle. J. Cell Biol. 146, 1265-1275
  • 21.Nilsson, H., Steffen, W., Norström, E., Wallin, M., & Palazzo, R.E. (2001) In vitro reconstitution of fish melanophore pigment aggregation. Cell Motil. Cytoskel. 48, 1-10
  • 22.Muresan, V., Lyass, A., Steffen, W., Holzbaur, E.L.F., Reese, T.S., & Schnapp, B.J. (2001) Dynactin-dependent attachment of dynein to liposomes reconstitutes processive vesicle-like motility. Molec. Cell 7, 173–183
  • 23.Al-Haddad, A., Shonn, M.A., Redlich, B., Blocker, A., Burkhardt, J.K., Yu, H., Hammer, J.A.III, Weiss, D.G., Steffen, W., Griffiths, G., & Kuznetsov, S.A. (2001) Myosin Va bound to phagosomes binds to F-actin and delays microtubule-dependent motility. Molec. Biol. Cell 12, 2742-2755
  • 24.Smith, D.A., Steffen, W., Simmons, R.M., & Sleep, J. (2001) Hidden-Markov methods for the analysis of single-molecule actomyosin displacement data: The Variance-Hidden-Markov method. Biophys. J. 81, 2795-2816
  • 25.Steffen, W., Smith, D.A., Simmons, R.M., & Sleep, J. (2001) Mapping the actin filament with myosin. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 98, 14949-14954
  • 26.Krylyshkina, O., Kaverina, I., Kranewitter, W., Steffen, W., Alonso, M.C., Cross, R.A., & Small, J.V. (2002) Modulation of substrate adhesion dynamics via microtubule targeting requires kinesin-1 J. Cell Biol. 156, 349-359
  • 27.Steffen, W., Smith, D.A., & Sleep, J. (2003) The working stroke upon myosin-nucleotide complexes bind to actin Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 100, 6434-6439
  • 28.Peters, C., Steffen, W., Kuznetsov, S., & Hodgkinson, J. (2003) The Dynactin complex: the key to molecular motors? Proc. Royal Microscopy 38, 221-222
  • 29.Steffen, W. & Sleep, J. (2004) Repriming the actomyosin crossbridge cycle Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 101, 12904-12909
  • 30.Steffen, W., & Sleep, J. (2004) Using optical tweezers to relate the chemical and mecahnical crossbridge cycles. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London B Biol. Sci. 359, 1857-1865.
  • 31.Hodgkinson, J.L., Peters, C., Kuznetsov, S.A.,& Steffen, W. (2005) Three-dimensional reconstruction of the dynactin complex by single particle analysis Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 102, 3667-3672.
  • 32.Kopp, P., Lammers, R., Aepfelbacher, M., Woehlke, G., Rudel, T., Machuy, N., Steffen, W., & Linder, S. The kinesin KIF1C and microtubule plus ends regulate podosome dynamics in macrophages. (2006) Mol. Biol. Cell 17, 2811-2823.
  • 33.Setter, P.W., Malvey-Dorn, E., Steffen, W., Stephens, R.E., & Linck, R.W. (2006) Tektin interactions and a model for molecular functions. Experimental Cell Research 312, 2880-2896
  • 34.Schramm, B., de Haan, C.A., Young, J., Doglio, L., Schleich, S., Reese, C., Popov, A., Steffen, W., Schroer, T., & Krijnse Locker, J. (2006) Vaccinia-Virus-Induced Cellular Contractility Facilitates the Subcellular Localization of the Viral Replication Sites. Traffic 7, 1352-1367
  • 35.A microtubule-based, dynein-dependent force induces local cell protrusions: Implications for neurite initiation. Dehmelt L, Nalbant P, Steffen W, Halpain S., Brain Cell Biol. 2007 Feb;35(1):39-56. Epub 2007 Mar 13. PMID: 17940912 [Abstract Springer Link]
  • 36.Single Molecule Measurement of the Stiffness of the Rigor Myosin Head. Lewalle A, Steffen W, Stephenson O, Ouyang Z, Sleep J., Biophys J. 2007 Dec 7; [Epub ahead of print], PMID: 18065470 [Pubmed Abstruct]
  • 37. Targeted optimization of a protein nanomachine for operation in biohybrid devices. Amrute-Nayak M, Diensthuber RP, Steffen W, Kathmann D, Hartmann FK, Fedorov R, Urbanke C, Manstein DJ, Brenner B, Tsiavaliaris G. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2010;49(2):312-6. PubMed Link
  • 38. Two independent switches regulate cytoplasmic dynein’s processivity and directionality, Wilhelm J. Walter, Michael P. Koonce, Bernhard Brenner, and Walter Steffen, Link PNAS 12. March 2012, PMID: 22411823
  • 39. Insights into the Structure and Function of Ciliary and Flagellar Doublet Microtubules: TEKTINS, Ca2+-BINDING PROTEINS, AND STABLE PROTOFILAMENTS., Linck R, Fu X, Lin J, Ouch C, Schefter A, Steffen W, Warren P, Nicastro D., J Biol Chem. 2014 Jun 20;289(25):17427-44. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.568949. Epub 2014 May 2., PMID: 24794867, [Pubmed Link]
  • 40. Faster cross-bridge detachment and increased tension cost in human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with the R403Q MYH7 mutation., Witjas-Paalberends ER, Ferrara C, Scellini B, Piroddi N, Montag J, Tesi C, Stienen GJ, Michels M, Ho CY, Kraft T, Poggesi C, van der Velden J., J Physiol. 2014 Aug 1;592(Pt 15):3257-72. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2014.274571. Epub 2014 Jun 13., PMID: 24928957, [Pubmed Link]




Review Articles

  • 37.Weiss, D.G. & Steffen, W. (1998) Lichtmikroskopie heute: Die lebende Zelle als Meßküvette. BIOspektrum 4, 59-67.
  • 38.Steffen, W. & Weiss, D.G. (1999) Biological Imaging. Ein Bild sagt mehr als 1000 Worte... BIOspektrum 5 (2), 118-142.



Book Chapters

  • 39.Weiss, D.G., Maile, W., Wick, R.A., & Steffen, W. (1999) Video microscopy. In: Light Microscopy in Biology. A practical approach. (ed.) A.J. Lacey, Oxford University Press, pp 73-149
  • 40.Weiss, D.G., Tychinsky, V.P., Steffen, W., & Budde, A. (2001) Digital microscopy techniques for the study of living cytoplasm. In: Image Analysis in Biology, 2nd edition, ed., D.-P. Häder (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton pp 209-239
  • 41.Steffen, W. & Hodgkinson, J.L. (2001) Site-directed antibodies as tools for investigating structure and function of cytoskeleton proteins. Meth. Molec. Biol., vol. 161 Cytoskeleton Methods and Protocols, ed. R.H. Gavin, Humana Press Inc., NJ, 121-132
  • 42.Hodgkinson, J.L. & Steffen, W. (2001) Direct labeling of components in protein complexes by immuno-electron microscopy. Meth. Molec. Biol., vol. 161 Cytoskeleton Methods and Protocols, ed. R.H. Gavin, Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ, 133-139
  • 43.Steffen, W. (2001) Tat-mediated delivery of antibodies to cultured cells. Meth. Molec. Biol., vol. 161 Cytoskeleton Methods and Protocols, ed. R.H. Gavin, Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ, 141-148
  • 44.Suddith, A.W., Vaisberg, E.A., Kuznetsov, S.A., Steffen, W., Rieder, C.L., & Palazzo, R.E. (2001) Centriol duplication, centrosome maturation and spindle formation in lysates of Spisula solidissima oocytes. Meth. Molec. Biol., vol. 161 Cytoskeleton Methods and Protocols, ed. R.H. Gavin, Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ, 215-228
  • 45.Hodgkinson, J.L. & Steffen, W. (2006) Direct labeling of components in protein complexes by immuno-electron microscopy. Cell Biology & Laboratory Handbook, 3rd edition, ed. J.E. Celis, Academic Press, vol. 3, pp. 307-312
  • 46.Steffen, W., Lewalle, A., & Sleep, J (2006) Optical Tweezers: Application to the study of motor proteins. Cell Biology & Laboratory Handbook, 3rd edition, ed. J.E. Celis, Academic Press, vol. 3, pp. 37-45