G protein-dependent signalling by CXCR4 and CXCR7

Early stage researcher 7 (ESR7) project – Cristina Perpina
Supervision: Prof MJ Lohse, Prof C Hoffmann, Dr Isabella Maiellaro
Host: UWUE (DE) – University of Würzburg, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Rudolf Virchow Center

I- Project proposal:


  1. Develop fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based biosensors to monitor receptor and G protein activation.
  2. Identify the G protein subtypes activated by CXCR4 and CXCR7 mono-, homo-, and heteromers in response to different modulators.
  3. Develop FRET-based biosensors to monitor multiplex G protein effector signalling in real time.

This project aims to analyze signaling by chemokine receptors developing and using optical tools and methods. Biosensors shall be developed for both chemokine receptors (CXCR4 and CXCR7) and their G-proteins, which allow to monitor and image their activation by changes in fluorescence (FRET). These sensors will be expressed in cell lines (and possibly ultimately also in transgenic models) in order to image by FRET microscopy where and when the receptors become activated and how they signal. With the help of different new labeling strategies we will aim for multiplex signal analysis, i.e. to monitor multiple signaling pathways simultaneously.

Planned secondments: MPG (DE), Actelion (CH).


II- Requirement candidate:

Required diploma: MSc degree in life or natural sciences (e.g. biology, biochemistry, biophysics, pharmacy)

Required expertise: Molecular biology, cell culture, microscopy

Recommended expertise: Recombinant protein expression, molecular cloning, basic biophysics courses

Key publications:

  1. Vilardaga JP, Bünemann M, Krasel C, Castro M, Lohse MJ (2003) Measurement of the millisecond activation switch of G-protein-coupled receptors in living cells. Nature Biotechnology 21, 807-812
  2. Vilardaga JP, Nikolaev VO, Lorenz K, Ferrandon S, Zhuang Z, Lohse MJ (2008) Conformational cross-talk between alpha-2A-adrenergic and mu-opioid receptors controls cell signaling. Nature Chemical Biology 4, 126-131
  3. Hlavackova V, Zabel U, Frankova D, Bätz J, Hoffmann C, Prezeau L, Pin J-P, Blahos J, Lohse MJ (2012) Sequential inter- and intra-subunit rearrangements during asymmetric activation of dimeric metabotropic glutamate receptor 1. Science Sign. 5, ra59

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Great way to finish the week off with some #FCS measurements of CXCR4-expressing HEK cells at @UoNLifeSci 🔬 #FluorescenceFriday

Hello everyone!
I am Noemi Karsai and I’m the next in our #ESR introduction series. I’m #ESR11 and I’m originally from Hungary, currently doing my PhD at @UoNLifeSci @COMPARE_UoBUoN, UK.

The transatlantic ECI GPCR symposium #ECIGPCR is about to start, we are ready!! Thanks to the organizers for their excellent job gathering almost 500 people across the globe! @cyclic_Andreas @NicoleAPerry1 @BenderSci @DesislavaNeshe1

Hello 🙂
I am here to continue the series in which all #ESRs are presenting themselves. I am Viviana Marolda and I am in my first year of PhD. I am #ESR13, originally from Italy, and currently, I am working as a PhD student in @CBMSO_CSIC_UAM, at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid.

Hey twitter!
I am @DehanComez. I am taking over the Oncornet account for a while to start a series of all #ESRs writing about themselves and their projects. I am #ESR5, originally from Turkey and right now I am working as a PhD student in @COMPARE_UoBUoN , @UniofNottingham , UK.

New review on #gpcr structural dynamics out in COSB. Great teamwork with the @JanaSelent group. Thanks to @Lundbeckfonden and @novonordiskfond https://lnkd.in/eyjrA5V

ONCORNET2.0 is the successor to #ONCORNET. You can see some of the work of ESRs from the first ONCORNET in this special issue of @MolPharmJournal from 2019, with reviews on #CXCR4 and #ACKR3 structure and function: https://molpharm.aspetjournals.org/content/96/6

Hi everyone – we’re on Twitter! ONCORNET2.0 is a #MarieCurie ITN of 16 ESRs across Europe studying #chemokine #GPCRs #CXCR4 and #ACKR3 in cancer. Our projects cover molecular dynamics, medchem, #pharmacology through to translational work. Follow us for updates from our ESRs!

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Contact details

Please contact us at:

ONCORNET Coordinator
VU University Amsterdam
The Netherlands