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Personal profile

Research Biography

Arne graduated in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Switzerland, in 2006 and received his PhD from ETH Zurich in 2010 for work on signal transduction by protein kinases. Arne is a Senior Research Fellow (Assistant Professor) within the Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. Arne did his post-doc at the University of Sydney, Australia, within the Brain and Mind Research Institute from 2011 to 2013. In 2013, he continued his post-doctoral work at University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), where he started his own research team on signal transduction and phosphorylation events in neurons in 2017. Arne was a post-doctoral fellow with the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation in 2016. Arne’s team is currently supported by ARC, NHMRC, Dementia Australia Research Foundation and Flinders Foundation. Arne is a NHMRC Emerging Leadership (EL2) fellow.

Research Interests

Protein kinases are critical components that interpret signals in all living cells, including brain cells (=neurons). Arne’s research program focusses on the neurobiology of protein kinases and one of their key targets in neurons: the tau protein, a key player in Alzheimer’s disease. Protein kinases modify target proteins (a process called protein phosphorylation). Phosphorylation of the tau protein has long been thought to aggravate Alzheimer’s. Arne’s team could show that phosphorylation of tau has unexpected beneficial functions in Alzheimer’s. Future projects expand on healthy and disease-related aspects of tau phosphorylation.

Key protein kinases in this context are mitogen-activated protein kinases of the p38 family. Arne revealed non-redundant functions of p38 kinases in the context of neurobiology. Future work expands on regulation, targets and function of p38 kinases in brain cells.

Current projects include:

  • Gain insight into the function of tau phosphorylation in health and disease
  • Elucidate functions of protein kinases in neurons and cognition
  • Develop tools for signal transduction and post-translational modification in neurons
  • Investigate signal transduction by genome editing

Selected publications

(1) Asih PR, Prikas E, Stefanoska K, Tan ARP, Ahel HI, Ittner A. Functions of p38 MAP Kinases in the Central Nervous System. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. 2020 Sep 8;13:570586. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2020.570586. PMID: 33013322; PMCID: PMC7509416.

(2) Ittner A, Asih PR, Tan ARP, Prikas E, Bertz J, Stefanoska K, Lin Y, Volkerling AM, Ke YD, Delerue F, Ittner LM. Reduction of advanced tau-mediated memory deficits by the MAP kinase p38γ. Acta Neuropathologica. 2020 Sep;140(3):279-294. doi: 10.1007/s00401-020-02191-1. Epub 2020 Jul 29. PMID: 32725265.

(3) Prikas E, Poljak A, Ittner A. Mapping p38α mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling by proximity-dependent labeling. Protein Science. 2020 May;29(5):1196-1210. doi: 10.1002/pro.3854. Epub 2020 Apr 7. PMID: 32189389; PMCID: PMC7184780.

(4) Stefanoska K, Bertz J, Volkerling AM, van der Hoven J, Ittner LM, Ittner A. Neuronal MAP kinase p38α inhibits c-Jun N-terminal kinase to modulate anxiety- related behaviour. Scientific Reports. 2018 Sep 24;8(1):14296. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32592-y. PMID: 30250211; PMCID: PMC6155170.

(5) Ittner A, Ittner LM. Dendritic Tau in Alzheimer's Disease. Neuron. 2018 Jul 11;99(1):13-27. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.06.003. PMID: 30001506.

(6) Stefanoska K, Volkerling A, Bertz J, Poljak A, Ke YD, Ittner LM, Ittner A. An N-terminal motif unique to primate tau enables differential protein-protein interactions. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2018 Mar 9;293(10):3710-3719. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.001784. Epub 2018 Jan 30. PMID: 29382714; PMCID: PMC5846163.

(7) Ittner A, Chua SW, Bertz J, Volkerling A, van der Hoven J, Gladbach A, Przybyla M, Bi M, van Hummel A, Stevens CH, Ippati S, Suh LS, Macmillan A, Sutherland G, Kril JJ, Silva AP, Mackay JP, Poljak A, Delerue F, Ke YD, Ittner LM. Site-specific phosphorylation of tau inhibits amyloid-β toxicity in Alzheimer's mice. Science. 2016 Nov 18;354(6314):904-908. doi: 10.1126/science.aah6205. PMID: 27856911.

(8) Ittner A, Block H, Reichel CA, Varjosalo M, Gehart H, Sumara G, Gstaiger M, Krombach F, Zarbock A, Ricci R. Regulation of PTEN activity by p38δ-PKD1 signaling in neutrophils confers inflammatory responses in the lung. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2012 Nov 19;209(12):2229-46. doi: 10.1084/jem.20120677. Epub 2012 Nov 5. PMID: 23129748; PMCID: PMC3501357.


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Research Areas

  • Medical biosciences


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