Carsten Merkwirth, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Fellow



I obtained my PhD in biology from the University of Cologne in Germany.  During the course of my doctoral studies with Professor Thomas Langer at the Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-associated Diseases (CECAD), I studied mechanisms of mitochondrial membrane dynamics and their contribution to aging-associated disorders using tissue culture systems and various mouse models.  In this work, I was able to identify prohibitin (PHB) membrane scaffolds as crucial regulators of mitochondrial architecture, neuronal survival and aging.

My current postdoctoral research in Andy Dillin´s lab at the University of California in Berkeley focuses on the understanding of molecular mechanisms that determine mitochondrial stress-mediated longevity in mammals and C. elegans.  My overall goal is to identify evolutionary conserved genetic and epigenetic pathways that coordinate mitochondrial proteostasis during the aging process.



Merkwirth C, Jovaisaite V, Durieux J, Matilainen O, Jordan SD, Quiros PM, Steffen KK, Williams EG, Mouchiroud L, Tronnes SU, Murillo V, Wolff SC, Shaw RJ, Auwerx J, Dillin A.  Two Conserved Histone Demethylases Regulate Mitochondrial Stress-Induced Longevity.  Cell. 2016 May 165, 1–15.  PMID: 27133168

Ising, C., Koehler, S., Brähler, S., Merkwirth, C., Höhne, M., Baris, O.R., Hagmann, H., Kann, M., Fabretti, F., Dafinger, C., Bloch, W., Schermer, B., Linkermann, A., Brüning, J.C., Kurschat, C.E., Müller, R.U., Wiesner, R.J., Langer, T., Benzing, T., Brinkkoetter, P.T. (2015). Inhibition of insulin/IGF-1 receptor signaling protects from mitochondria-mediated kidney failure. EMBO Mol Med. 2015 Feb 2;7(3):275-87. doi: 10.15252/emmm.201404916.

Riera, C.E., Huising, M.O., Follett, P., Leblanc, M., Halloran, J., Van Andel, R., de Magalhaes Filho, C.D., Merkwirth, C., and Dillin, A. (2014). TRPV1 Pain Receptors Regulate Longevity and Metabolism by Neuropeptide Signaling. Cell. 2014 May 22;157(5):1023-36. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.03.051.

Supale, S., Thorel, F., Merkwirth, C., Gjinovci, A., Herrera, P.L., Scorrano, L., Langer, T., and Maechler, P.  (2013). Loss of Prohibitin Induces Mitochondrial Damages Altering β-Cell Function and Survival and is Responsible for Gradual Diabetes Development. Diabetes.2013 Oct; 62(10):3488-99. doi: 10.2337/db13-0152.

Vilchez, D., Boyer, L., Lutz, M., Merkwirth, C., Morantte, I., Tse, C., Spencer, B., Page, L., Masliah, E., Berggren, W.T., Gage, F.H., and Dillin,A. (2013). FOXO4 is Necessary for Neural Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells. Aging Cell. Mar 7. doi: 10.1111/acel.12067.

Merkwirth, C., Korwitz, A., Martinelli, P., Morbin, M., Brönneke, H.S., Jordan, S.D., Rugarli, E.I., and Langer, T. (2012). Loss of Prohibitin Membrane Scaffolds Impairs Mitochondrial Architecture and Leads to Tau Hyperphosphorylation and Neurodegeneration. PLoS Genetics. 8(11): e1003021. doi:10.1371/ journal. pgen. 1003021.

Vilchez, D., Boyer, L., Morantte, I., Lutz, M., Merkwirth, C., Joyce, D., Spencer, B., Page, L., Masliah, E., Berggren, W.T., Gage, F.H., and Dillin,A. (2012). Increased Proteasome Activity in Human Embryonic Stem Cells is Regulated by PSMD11/rpn-6. Nature. Sep 13; 489(7415):304-308.

Vilchez, D.,Morantte, I., Liu, Z., Douglas, P.M., Merkwirth, C., Rodrigues, A.P.C., Manning, G., and Dillin, A. (2012). RPN-6 Determines C. elegans Longevity under Proteotoxic Stress Conditions. Nature. Sep 13; 489(7415):263-268.

Baris, O.R., Klose, A., Kloepper, J.E., Weiland, D., Neuhaus, J.F., Schauen, M., Wille, A., Müller, A., Merkwirth, C., Langer, T., Larsson, N.G., Krieg, T., Tobin, D.J., Paus, R., Wiesner, R.J. (2011). The Mitochondrial Electron Transport Chain is Dispensable for Proliferation and Differentiation of Epidermal Progenitor Cells. Stem Cells. Sep; 29 (9):1459-68.

Jordan, S.D., Krüger, M., Willmes, D.M., Redemann, N., Wunderlich, F.T., Brönneke, H.S., Merkwirth, C., Kashkar, H., Olkkonen, V.M., Böttger, T., Braun, T., Seibler, J., and Brüning, J.C. (2011). Obesity-Induced Overexpression of miRNA-143 Inhibits Insulin-Stimulated AKT Activation and Impairs Glucose Metabolism. Nature Cell Biol. Apr; 13,(4):434-446.

Osman, C., Merkwirth, C., and Langer, T. (2009). Prohibitins and the Functional Compartmentali-zation of Mitochondrial Membranes. J Cell Sci. Nov 1; 122, 3823-3820.

Tondera, D., Grandemange, S., Jourdain, A., Karbowski, M., Mattenberger, Y., Herzig, S.,  DaCruz, S., Clerc, P., Raschke, I., Merkwirth, C., Ehses, S., Krause, F., Chan, D.C., Alexander, C., Bauer, C., Youle, R., Langer, T., and Martinou, J.C. (2009). SLP-2 is Required for Stress-induced Mitochondrial Hyperfusion. EMBO J. Jun 3; 28, 1589-600.

Merkwirth, C., and Langer, T. (2009). Prohibitin Function within Mitochondria: Essential Roles for Cell Proliferation and Cristae Morphogenesis. Biochim Biophys Acta. Jan 1; 1793, 27-32.

Merkwirth, C., and Langer, T. (2008). Mitofusin 2 Builds a Bridge between ER and Mitochondria. Cell.Dec 26; 135, 1165-1167.

Merkwirth, C., Dargazanli, S., Tatsuta, T., Geimer, S., Löwer, B., Wunderlich, F.T., von Kleist-Retzow, J.C., Waisman, A., Westermann, B., and Langer, T. (2008). Prohibitins Control Cell Proliferation and Apoptosis by Regulating OPA1-dependent Cristae Morphogenesis in Mitochondria. Genes Dev. Feb 15; 22, 476-488.

Hövelmeyer, N., Wunderlich, F.T., Massoumi, R., Jakobsen, C.G., Song, J., Worns, M.A., Merkwirth, C., Kovalenko, A., Aumailley, M., Strand, D., Brüning, J.C., Galle, P.R., Wallach, D., Fässler, R., and Waisman, A. (2007). Regulation of B Cell Homeostasis and Activation by the Tumor Suppressor Gene CYLD. J Exp Med. Oct 29; 204, 2615-2627.