Prof. Dr. Walter Nickel

Prof. Dr. Walter Nickel

Biochemie-Zentrum der Universität Heidelberg (BZH)
Im Neuenheimer Feld 328
69120 Heidelberg
Phone: +49 (6221) 54-5425
Fax: +49 (6221) 54-4366

Research Area

Molecular Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics

Position and Status

Professor of Biochemistry (W3)

Scholarships and awards

1998 - 2000    Postdoctoral fellowship (Human Frontiers Science Program)
1997 - 1998    Feodor-Lynen fellowship for postdoctoral research from the Alexander von Humboldt foundation
1995 - 1996    Postdoctoral fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG)
1991 - 1994    PhD student stipend and member of the DFG Graduate School “Signal-vermittelter Transport von Proteinen und Vesikeln” at the Georg August Universität Göttingen

Academic Education

01/1991 - 04/1994   Ph.D. thesis with Hans-Dieter Söling at the Institute of Clinical Biochemistry, Georg August Universität, Göttingen
01/1990 - 12/1990   Diploma thesis with Frank Grosse at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine, Göttingen
10/1985 - 12/1990   Study of Biology at Georg August Universität, Göttingen


University Degrees

2001   Habilitation (venia legendi) in Biochemistry, Ruprecht Karls Universität Heidelberg; Mentor: Felix T. Wieland
1994   Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Department of Clinical Biochemistry Georg August Universität Göttingen; Mentor: Hans-Dieter Söling



12/2004 -                 Professor of Biochemistry at Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center, Faculty of Biosciences
05/2000 - 11/2004   Group leader at Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
10/1997 - 04/2000   Post-doctoral research fellow with James E. Rothman at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, U.S.A.
07/1994 - 09/1997   Post-doctoral research fellow with Felix T. Wieland at the Institute for Biochemistry I, Ruprecht Karls Universität Heidelberg

Coordinating Functions and Editorial Work

2014 -             Editorial Board Member, The Journal of Biological Chemistry
2010 - 2015    Speaker of the DFG Graduate School GRK1188 at Heidelberg University "Quantitative Analysis of Dynamic Processes in Membrane Transport and Translocation"
2009 - 2012    Chairman of the Eurocores programme "EuroMEMBRANE" of the European Science Foundation (ESF)
2012               Co-Organizer of the EuroMEMBRANE International Conference Basel, Switzerland; June 5-8, 2012
2007               Conference Chair (together with Blanche Schwappach) of the 58th “Mosbacher Kolloqium” of the “Gesellschaft für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie” (GBM) entitled “Protein and Lipid Sorting in Health and Disease”; March 29-31, 2007

  1. Müller HM, Steringer JP, Wegehingel S, Bleicken S, Münster M, Dimou E, Unger S, Weidmann G, Andreas H, García-Sáez AJ, Wild K, Sinning I, Nickel W. (2015) Formation of disulfide bridges drives oligomerization, membrane pore formation, and translocation of fibroblast growth factor 2 to cell surfaces. J. Biol. Chem. 290:8925-8937.
  2. Zacherl S, La Venuta G, Müller HM, Wegehingel S, Dimou E, Sehr P, Lewis JD, Erfle H, Pepperkok R, Nickel W (2014) A direct role for ATP1A1 in unconventional secretion of fibroblast growth factor 2. J. Biol. Chem. 290:3654-3665.
  3. Steringer JP, Bleicken S, Andreas H, Zacherl S, Laussmann M, Temmerman K, Contreras FX, Bharat TA, Lechner J, Müller HM, Briggs JA, García-Sáez AJ, Nickel W. (2012) Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P2)-dependent oligomerization of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) triggers the formation of a lipidic membrane pore implicated in unconventional secretion. J. Biol. Chem. 287:27659-27669.
  4. Ritzerfeld J, Remmele S, Wang T, Temmerman K, Brügger B, Wegehingel S, Tournaviti S, Strating J, Wieland FT, Neumann B, Ellenberg J, Lawerenz C, Hesser J, Erfle H, Pepperkok R, and Nickel W (2011) Phenotypic Profiling of the Human Genome Reveals Gene Products Involved in Plasma Membrane Targeting of SRC Kinases. Genome Res. 21:1955-1968.
  5. Ebert AD, Laussmann M, Wegehingel S, Kaderali L, Erfle H, Reichert J, Lechner J, Beer HD, Pepperkok R, Nickel W. (2010) Tec-kinase-mediated phosphorylation of fibroblast growth factor 2 is essential for unconventional secretion. Traffic 11:813-826.
  6. Torrado LC, Temmerman K, Müller HM, Mayer MP, Seelenmeyer C, Backhaus R, and Nickel W (2009) An Intrinsic Quality Control Mechanism Ensures Unconventional Secretion of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 in a Folded Conformation. J. Cell Sci. 122:3322-3329.
  7. Temmerman K, Ebert AD, Müller HM, Sinning I, Tews I, Nickel W. (2008) A direct role for phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate in unconventional secretion of fibroblast growth factor 2. Traffic 9:1204-1217.
  8. Zehe C, Engling A, Wegehingel S, Schäfer T, Nickel W. (2006) Cell-surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans are essential components of the unconventional export machinery of FGF-2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 103:15479-15484.
  9. Seelenmeyer C, Wegehingel S, Tews I, Künzler M, Aebi M, Nickel W. (2005) Cell surface counter receptors are essential components of the unconventional export machinery of galectin-1.J Cell Biol. 171:373-381.
  10. Schäfer T, Zentgraf H, Zehe C, Brügger B, Bernhagen J, and Nickel W (2004) Unconventional Protein Secretion of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 Is Mediated by Direct Translocation across the Plasma Membrane of Mammalian Cells. J. Biol. Chem. 279:6244-6251