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Neundorf lab - Institute for Biochemistry


Within this project we aim to develop novel tools to study cysteine prenylation, which is mediated in the first step by prenyltransferases. The doctoral candidate will investigate the interaction of cell-permeable peptides with prenyltransferases in cell-free and cellular systems. Techniques applied vary from chemical peptide and recombinant protein synthesis to biophysical (e.g. protein-protein interaction) and cellular (e.g. uptake, cell viability) assays.

Merlin Klußmann

PhD student since September 2020

EMail: mklussm2[at]

"I received my bachelor’s and master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Cologne. My research interest is to study the effects of certain peptides on various processes in cancerous vs. non-cancerous cell lines"


  • AIFM1 is a component of the mitochondrial disulfide relay that drives complex I assembly through efficient import of NDUFS5. Salscheider SL, Gerlich S, Cabrera-Orefice A, Peker E, Rothemann RA, Murschall LM, Finger Y, Szczepanowska K, Ahmadi ZA, Guerrero-Castillo S, Erdogan A, Becker M, Ali M, Habich M, Petrungaro C, Burdina N, Schwarz G, Klußmann M, Neundorf I, Stroud DA, Ryan MT, Trifunovic A, Brandt U, Riemer J. EMBO J. 2022 Jul 20:e110784. doi: 10.15252/embj.2022110784. Online ahead of print. PMID: 35859387

  • Macropinocytosis-Inducible Extracellular Vesicles Modified with Antimicrobial Protein CAP18-Derived Cell-Penetrating Peptides for Efficient Intracellular Delivery. Noguchi K, Obuki M, Sumi H, Klußmann M, Morimoto K, Nakai S, Hashimoto T, Fujiwara D, Fujii I, Yuba E, Takatani-Nakase T, Neundorf I, Nakase I. Mol. Pharmaceutics 2021, 18, 9, 3290–3301 2021 Aug 8.doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.1c00244
  • Molecular Plasticity of Crystalline CK2α' Leads to KN2, a Bivalent Inhibitor of Protein Kinase CK2 with Extraordinary Selectivity. Lindenblatt D, Applegate V, Nickelsen A, Klußmann M, Neundorf I, Götz C, Jose J, Niefind K. J Med Chem. 2021 Jul 29. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.1c00063. PMID: 34323071

  • Recent Advances and Trends in Chemical CPP-Drug Conjugation Techniques. (Review) Gayraud F, Klußmann M, Neundorf I. Molecules. 2021 Mar 13;26(6):1591. doi: 10.3390/molecules26061591. PMID: 3380568

  • Interdependence of charge and secondary structure on cellular uptake of cell penetrating peptide functionalized silica nanoparticles. Gessner G, Klimpel A, Klußmann M, Neundorf I, Mathur S. Nanoscale Adv., 2020, 2, 453-462. doi: 10.1039/C9NA00693A

Katharina Stillger

PhD student since September 2021

EMail: kstillge[at]

"I studied Biochemistry in my Bachelor and Master both in Cologne. My research focuses on designing peptides, which penetrate cells and target the protein lipidation machinery."


  • Mitochondria shed their outer membrane in response to infection-induced stress. Li X, Straub J, Medeiros TC, Mehra C, den Brave F, Peker E, Atanassov I, Stillger K, Michaelis JB, Burbridge E, Adrain C, Münch C, Riemer J, Becker T, Pernas LF. Science. 2022 Jan 14;375(6577):eabi4343. doi: 10.1126/science.abi4343. Epub 2022 Jan 14. PMID: 35025629

  • Cell-permeable CaaX-peptides affect K-Ras downstream signaling and promote cell death in cancer cells. Klimpel A, Stillger K, Wiederstein JL, Krüger M, Neundorf I. FEBS J. 2021 May;288(9):2911-2929. doi: 10.1111/febs.15612. Epub 2020 Nov 7. PMID: 33112492