Stefan Schulte-Merker

Research Topic

We are interested in the genetic control of organogenic events, in particular formation of the vascular system (blood vessels, lymphatics) and of bone. Using zebrafish and mice as our animal models, we aim to understand what function specific genes/proteins have during early development. A key aspect of our work is in vivo imaging in zebrafish. The majority of genes we study leads to human pathologies in those cases, where the orthologous genes are deficient in human patients.

Selected Publications

  • Wang, G., Muhl, L. Padberg, Y., Dupont, L., Peterson-Maduro, J., Stehling, M., Colige, A., le Noble, F., Colige, A., Betsholtz, C., van Impel, A., and Schulte-Merker, S. (2020). Specific Fibroblast subpopulations and neuronal structures serve as local sources of Vegfc-processing components during lymphangiogenesis. Nature Communications, in press.
  • Harrison, R.M., Feng, X., Mo, G., Aguayo, A., Villafuerte, J., Yoshida, C., Pearson, C.A., Schulte-Merker, S., and Lien, C.-L. (2019) Late developing cardiac lymphatic vasculature supports adult zebrafish heart function and regeneration. eLife, Nov 8;8:e42762.
  • Lleras Forero, L., Narayanan, R., Huitema, L.F.A., van Bergen, M., Apschner, A., Peterson-Maduro, J., Logister, I., Valentin, G., Morelli, L., Oates, A. and Schulte-Merker, S. (2018) Segmentation of the axial skeleton relies on notochord sheath cells and not on the segmentation clock. eLife, e33843.
  • Van Lessen, M., Shibata-Germanos, S., van Impel, A., Hawkins, T.A., Rihel, J., and Schulte-Merker, S. (2017) Intracellular uptake of macromolecules by brain lymphatic endothelial cells during zebrafish embryonic development. eLife doi: 10.7554/eLife.25932.
  • Karpänen, T.K., Padberg, Y., van de Pavert, S.A., Dierkes, C., Morooka, N., Peterson-Maduro, J., van de Hoek, G., Mochizuki, N., Sekiguchi, K., Kiefer, F., Schulte, D., and Schulte-Merker, S. (2017) An evolutionary conserved role for Polydom/SVEP1 during lymphatic vessel formation. Circulation Research 120(8): 1263-1275.
  • Hogan, B. and Schulte-Merker, S. (2017) How to plumb a pisces: Understanding Vascular Development and Disease Using Zebrafish Embryos. Dev Cell 25;42(6):567-583.
  • Gordon, K., Schulte, D., Brice, G., Simpson, M.A., Roukens, M.G., van Impel, A.W., Connell, F., Kalidas, K., Jefferey, S., Mortimer, P.S., Schulte-Merker, S., and Ostergaard, P. (2013) A mutation in VEGFC, a ligand for VEGFR3, is associated with autosomal-dominant Milroy-like primary lymphedema. Circulation Research 112(6), 956-60.
  • Bos, F.L., Caunt, M., Peterson-Maduro, J., Planas-Paz, L., Kowalski, J., Karpanen, T., van Impel, A., Tong, R., Ernst, J.A., Korving, J., van Es., J.H., Lammert, E., Duckers, H.J., and Schulte-Merker, S. (2011) CCBE1 Is Essential for Mammalian Lymphatic Vascular Development and Enhances the Lymphangiogneic Effect of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-C In Vivo. Circulation Research 109(5): 486-91.
  • Hogan, B.M., Bos, F., Bussmann, J., Witte, M., Chi, N., Duckers, H., Schulte-Merker, S. (2009) Ccbe1 is required for embryonic lymphangiogenesis and venous sprouting. Nature Genetics 41: 396-398.
  • Alders, M., Hogan, B.M., Gjini, E., Salehi, F., Al-Gazali, L., Hennekam, E.A., Holmberg, E.E., Mannens, M.M.A.M., Mulder, M.F., Offerhaus, G.J.A., Prescott, T.E., Schroor, E.J., Verheij, J.B.G.M., Witte, M., Zwijnenburg, P.J., Vikkula, M., Schulte-Merker, S.* & Hennekam, R.C.* (2009) Mutations in CCBE1 cause generalized lymph vessel dysplasia in humans. Nature Genetics, Nature Genetics 41: 1272-1274.  (*joint last authors).