Nils Brose

Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, München, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (196)1897.63 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Signaling at nerve cell synapses is a key determinant of proper brain function, and synaptic defects - or synaptopathies - are at the basis of many neurological and psychiatric disorders. In key areas of the mammalian brain, such as the hippocampus or the basolateral amygdala, the clustering of the scaffolding protein Gephyrin and of γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptors at inhibitory neuronal synapses is critically dependent upon the brain-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) Collybistin (Cb). Accordingly, it was discovered recently that an R290H missense mutation in the diffuse B-cell lymphoma homology (DH) domain of Cb, which carries the GEF activity, leads to epilepsy and intellectual disability in human patients. In the present study, we determined the mechanism by which the Cb(R290H) mutation perturbs inhibitory synapse formation and causes brain dysfunction. Based on a combination of biochemical, cell biological, and molecular dynamics simulation approaches, we demonstrate that the R290H mutation alters the strength of intramolecular interactions between the DH domain and the pleckstrin homology domain of Cb. This defect reduces the phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate binding affinity of Cb, which limits its normal synaptogenic activity. Our data indicate that an impairment of the membrane lipid binding activity of Cb and a consequent defect in inhibitory synapse maturation represent a likely molecular pathomechanism of epilepsy and mental retardation in humans. Copyright © 2015, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
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    ABSTRACT: Munc13-3 is a member of the Munc13 family of synaptic vesicle priming proteins and mainly expressed in cerebellar neurons. Munc13-3 null mutant (Munc13-3 (-/-)) mice show decreased synaptic release probability at parallel fiber to Purkinje cell, granule cell to Golgi cell, and granule cell to basket cell synapses and exhibit a motor learning deficit at highest rotarod speeds. Since we detected Munc13-3 immunoreactivity in the dentate gyrus, as reported here for the first time, and current studies indicated a crucial role for the cerebellum in hippocampus-dependent spatial memory, we systematically investigated Munc13-3 (-/-) mice versus wild-type littermates of both genders with respect to hippocampus-related cognition and a range of basic behaviors, including tests for anxiety, sensory functions, motor performance and balance, sensorimotor gating, social interaction and competence, and repetitive and compulsive behaviors. Neither basic behavior nor hippocampus-dependent cognitive performance, evaluated by Morris water maze, hole board working and reference memory, IntelliCage-based place learning including multiple reversals, and fear conditioning, showed any difference between genotypes. However, consistent with a disturbed cerebellar reflex circuitry, a reliable reduction in the acoustic startle response in both male and female Munc13-3 (-/-) mice was found. To conclude, complete deletion of Munc13-3 leads to a robust decrease in the acoustic startle response. This readout of a fast cerebellar reflex circuitry obviously requires synaptic vesicle priming by Munc13-3 for full functionality, in contrast to other behavioral or cognitive features, where a nearly perfect compensation of Munc13-3 deficiency by related synaptic proteins has to be assumed.
    The Cerebellum 01/2015; DOI:10.1007/s12311-015-0645-0 · 2.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ribbon synapses of cochlear inner hair cells (IHCs) employ efficient vesicle replenishment to indefatigably encode sound. In neurons, neuroendocrine and immune cells, vesicle replenishment depends on proteins of the mammalian uncoordinated 13 (Munc13) and Ca(2+)-dependent activator proteins for secretion (CAPS) families, which prime vesicles for exocytosis. Here, we tested whether Munc13 and CAPS proteins also regulate exocytosis in mouse IHCs by combining immunohistochemistry with auditory systems physiology and IHC patch-clamp recordings of exocytosis in mice lacking Munc13 and CAPS isoforms. Surprisingly, we did not detect Munc13 or CAPS proteins at IHC presynaptic active zones (AZs) and found normal IHC exocytosis as well as auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) in Munc13 and CAPS deletion mutants. Instead, we show that otoferlin, a C2-domain protein critical for vesicular fusion and replenishment in IHCs, clusters at the plasma membrane of the presynaptic AZ. Electron tomography of otoferlin-deficient IHC synapses revealed a reduction of short tethers holding vesicles at the AZ, which might be a structural correlate of impaired vesicle priming in otoferlin-deficient IHCs. We conclude that IHCs use an unconventional priming machinery that involves otoferlin.
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    ABSTRACT: Priming of secretory vesicles is a prerequisite for their Ca(2+)-dependent fusion with the plasma membrane. The key vesicle priming proteins, Munc13s and CAPSs, are thought to mediate vesicle priming by regulating the conformation of the t-SNARE syntaxin, thereby facilitating SNARE complex assembly. Munc13s execute their priming function through their MUN domain. Given that the MUN domain of Ca(2+)-dependent activator protein for secretion (CAPS) also binds syntaxin, it was assumed that CAPSs prime vesicles through the same mechanism as Munc13s. We studied naturally occurring splice variants of CAPS2 in CAPS1/CAPS2-deficient cells and found that CAPS2 primes vesicles independently of its MUN domain. Instead, the pleckstrin homology domain of CAPS2 seemingly is essential for its priming function. Our findings indicate a priming mode for secretory vesicles. This process apparently requires membrane phospholipids, does not involve the binding or direct conformational regulation of syntaxin by MUN domains of CAPSs, and is therefore not redundant with Munc13 action. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Cell Reports 11/2014; 9(3):902-9. DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2014.09.050 · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Munc13-3 is a presynaptic protein implicated in vesicle priming that is strongly expressed in cerebellar granule cells (GCs). Mice deficient of Munc13-3 (Munc13-3−/−) show an increased paired-pulse ratio (PPR), which led to the hypothesis that Munc13-3 increases the release probability (pr) of vesicles. In the present study, we analyzed unitary synaptic connections between GCs and basket cells in acute cerebellar slices from wild-type and Munc13-3−/− mice. Unitary EPSCs recorded from Munc13-3−/− GCs showed normal kinetics and synaptic latency but a significantly increased PPR and fraction of synaptic failures. A quantal analysis revealed that neither the charge of single quanta nor the binominal parameter N were affected by loss of Munc13-3 but that pr was almost halved in Munc13-3−/−. Neither presynaptic Ca2+ influx was affected by deletion of Munc13-3 nor replenishment of the readily releasable vesicle pool. However, a high concentration of EGTA led to a reduction in EPSCs that was significantly stronger in Munc13-3−/−. We conclude that Munc13-3 is responsible for an additional step of molecular and/or positional “superpriming” that substantially increases the efficacy of Ca2+-triggered release.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 10/2014; 34:14687-14696. DOI:10.1523/jneurosci.2060-14.2014 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Synaptic vesicle docking, priming, and fusion at active zones are orchestrated by a complex molecular machinery. We employed hippocampal organotypic slice cultures from mice lacking key presynaptic proteins, cryofixation, and three-dimensional electron tomography to study the mechanism of synaptic vesicle docking in the same experimental setting, with high precision, and in a near-native state. We dissected previously indistinguishable, sequential steps in synaptic vesicle active zone recruitment (tethering) and membrane attachment (docking) and found that vesicle docking requires Munc13/CAPS family priming proteins and all three neuronal SNAREs, but not Synaptotagmin-1 or Complexins. Our data indicate that membrane-attached vesicles comprise the readily releasable pool of fusion-competent vesicles and that synaptic vesicle docking, priming, and trans-SNARE complex assembly are the respective morphological, functional, and molecular manifestations of the same process, which operates downstream of vesicle tethering by active zone components.
    Neuron 10/2014; 84(2):416-31. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.009 · 15.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein ubiquitination is a core regulatory determinant of neural development. Previous studies have indicated that the Nedd4-family E3 ubiquitin ligases Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2 may ubiquitinate phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and thereby regulate axonal growth in neurons. Using conditional knockout mice, we show here that Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2 are indeed required for axonal growth in murine central nervous system neurons. However, in contrast to previously published data, we demonstrate that PTEN is not a substrate of Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2, and that aberrant PTEN ubiquitination is not involved in the impaired axon growth upon deletion of Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2. Rather, PTEN limits Nedd4-1 protein levels by modulating the activity of mTORC1, a protein complex that controls protein synthesis and cell growth. Our data demonstrate that Nedd4-family E3 ligases promote axonal growth and branching in the developing mammalian brain, where PTEN is not a relevant substrate. Instead, PTEN controls neurite growth by regulating Nedd4-1 expression.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2014; 111(36). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1400737111 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The formation of neuronal synapses and the dynamic regulation of their efficacy depend on the assembly of the postsynaptic neurotransmitter receptor apparatus. Receptor recruitment to inhibitory GABAergic and glycinergic synapses is controlled by the scaffold protein gephyrin and the adaptor protein collybistin. We derived new insights into the structure of collybistin and used these to design biochemical, cell biological, and genetic analyses of collybistin function. Our data define a collybistin-based protein interaction network that controls the gephyrin content of inhibitory postsynapses. Within this network, collybistin can adopt open/active and closed/inactive conformations to act as a switchable adaptor that links gephyrin to plasma membrane phosphoinositides. This function of collybistin is regulated by binding of the adhesion protein neuroligin-2, which stabilizes the open/active conformation of collybistin at the postsynaptic plasma membrane by competing with an intramolecular interaction in collybistin that favors the closed/inactive conformation. By linking trans-synaptic neuroligin-dependent adhesion and phosphoinositide signaling with gephyrin recruitment, the collybistin-based regulatory switch mechanism represents an integrating regulatory node in the formation and function of inhibitory postsynapses.
    The EMBO Journal 07/2014; DOI:10.15252/embj.201488143 · 10.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroligin-4 (Nlgn4) is a member of the neuroligin family of postsynaptic cell adhesion molecules. Loss-of-function mutations of NLGN4 are among the most frequent, known genetic causes of heritable autism. Adult Nlgn4 null mutant (Nlgn4(-/-)) mice are a construct valid model of human autism, with both genders displaying a remarkable autistic phenotype, including deficits in social interaction and communication as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors. In contrast to adults, autism-related abnormalities in neonatal and juvenile Nlgn4(-/-) mice have not been reported yet. The present study has been designed to systematically investigate in male and female Nlgn4(-/-) pups versus wildtype littermates (WT, Nlgn4(+/+)) developmental milestones and stimulus-induced ultrasound vocalization (USV). Neonatal development, followed daily from postnatal days (PND) 4-21, including physical development, neurological reflexes and neuromotor coordination, did not yield any differences between Nlgn4(-/-) and their WT littermates. USV in pups (PND 8-9) in response to brief separation from their mothers revealed remarkable gender effects, and a genotype influence in females regarding latency to first call. In juveniles (PND 22-23), USV monitoring upon exposure to an anesthetized female intruder mouse uncovered a clear genotype effect with reduced USV in Nlgn4(-/-) mice, and again a more prominent phenotype in females. Together, these data support an early manifestation of communication deficits in Nlgn4(-/-) mice that appear more pronounced in immature females with their overall stronger USV as compared to males.
    Behavioural Brain Research 05/2014; 270. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.05.019 · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ComplexinII (CpxII) and SynaptotagminI (SytI) have been implicated in regulating the function of SNARE proteins in exocytosis, but their precise mode of action and potential interplay have remained unknown. In this paper, we show that CpxII increases Ca(2+)-triggered vesicle exocytosis and accelerates its secretory rates, providing two independent, but synergistic, functions to enhance synchronous secretion. Specifically, we demonstrate that the C-terminal domain of CpxII increases the pool of primed vesicles by hindering premature exocytosis at submicromolar Ca(2+) concentrations, whereas the N-terminal domain shortens the secretory delay and accelerates the kinetics of Ca(2+)-triggered exocytosis by increasing the Ca(2+) affinity of synchronous secretion. With its C terminus, CpxII attenuates fluctuations of the early fusion pore and slows its expansion but is functionally antagonized by SytI, enabling rapid transmitter discharge from single vesicles. Thus, our results illustrate how key features of CpxII, SytI, and their interplay transform the constitutively active SNARE-mediated fusion mechanism into a highly synchronized, Ca(2+)-triggered release apparatus.
    The Journal of Cell Biology 03/2014; 204(7):1123-40. DOI:10.1083/jcb.201311085 · 9.69 Impact Factor
  • Nils Brose
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous metaphors have been employed to describe the achievements of the 2013 Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine, James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, and Thomas C. Südhof, who were honored for "their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells." Most of these metaphors referred to the mundane issue of business logistics, and there is probably no other cell type in which the logistics problem is more pressing than in neurons.
    Neuron 02/2014; 81(4):723-7. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.02.008 · 15.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic heterogeneity of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is enormous, and the neurobiology of proteins encoded by genes associated with ASD is very diverse. Revealing the mechanisms on which different neurobiological pathways in ASD pathogenesis converge may lead to the identification of drug targets. The main objective is firstly to outline the main molecular networks and neuronal mechanisms in which ASD gene products participate and secondly to answer the question how these converge. Finally, we aim to pinpoint drug targets within these mechanisms. Literature review of the neurobiological properties of ASD gene products with a special focus on the developmental consequences of genetic defects and the possibility to reverse these by genetic or pharmacological interventions. The regulation of activity-dependent protein synthesis appears central in the pathogenesis of ASD. Through sequential consequences for axodendritic function, neuronal disabilities arise expressed as behavioral abnormalities and autistic symptoms in ASD patients. Several known ASD gene products have their effect on this central process by affecting protein synthesis intrinsically, e.g., through enhancing the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signal transduction pathway or through impairing synaptic function in general. These are interrelated processes and can be targeted by compounds from various directions: inhibition of protein synthesis through Lovastatin, mTOR inhibition using rapamycin, or mGluR-related modulation of synaptic activity. ASD gene products may all feed into a central process of translational control that is important for adequate glutamatergic regulation of dendritic properties. This process can be modulated by available compounds but may also be targeted by yet unexplored routes.
    Psychopharmacology 01/2014; 231(6). DOI:10.1007/s00213-013-3403-3 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For decades, neuroscientists have used enriched preparations of synaptic particles called synaptosomes to study synapse function. However, the interpretation of corresponding data is problematic as synaptosome preparations contain multiple types of synapses and non-synaptic neuronal and glial contaminants. We established a novel Fluorescence Activated Synaptosome Sorting (FASS) method that substantially improves conventional synaptosome enrichment protocols and enables high-resolution biochemical analyses of specific synapse subpopulations. Employing knock-in mice with fluorescent glutamatergic synapses, we show that FASS isolates intact ultrapure synaptosomes composed of a resealed presynaptic terminal and a postsynaptic density as assessed by light and electron microscopy. FASS synaptosomes contain bona fide glutamatergic synapse proteins but are almost devoid of other synapse types and extrasynaptic or glial contaminants. We identified 163 enriched proteins in FASS samples, of which FXYD6 and Tpd52 were validated as new synaptic proteins. FASS purification thus enables high-resolution biochemical analyses of specific synapse subpopulations in health and disease.
    The EMBO Journal 01/2014; 33(2). DOI:10.1002/embj.201386120 · 10.75 Impact Factor
  • Susan Ferro-Novick, Nils Brose
    Nature 12/2013; 504(7478):98. DOI:10.1038/504098a · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In many brain regions, gephyrin and GABAA receptor clustering at developing inhibitory synapses depends on the guanine nucleotide exchange factor collybistin (Cb). The vast majority of Cb splice variants contain an autoinhibitory src homology 3 domain, and several synaptic proteins are known to bind to this SH3 domain and to thereby activate gephyrin clustering. However, many functional GABAergic synapses form independently of the known Cb-activating proteins, indicating that additional Cb activators must exist. Here we show that the small Rho-like GTPase TC10 stimulates Cb-dependent gephyrin clustering by binding in its active, GTP-bound state to the pleckstrin homology domain of Cb. Overexpression of a constitutively active TC10 variant in neurons causes an increase in the density of synaptic gephyrin clusters and mean miniature inhibitory postsynaptic current amplitudes, whereas a dominant negative TC10 variant has opposite effects. The enhancement of Cb-induced gephyrin clustering by GTP-TC10 does not depend on the guanine nucleotide exchange activity of Cb but involves an interaction that resembles reported interactions of other small GTPases with their effectors. Our data indicate that GTP-TC10 activates the major src homology 3 domain-containing Cb variants by relieving autoinhibition and thus define an alternative GTPase-driven signaling pathway in the genesis of inhibitory synapses.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2013; 110(51). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1309078110 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Perturbations of cell surface synapse-organizing proteins, particularly α-neurexins, contribute to neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. From an unbiased screen, we identify calsyntenin-3 (alcadein-β) as a synapse-organizing protein unique in binding and recruiting α-neurexins, but not β-neurexins. Calsyntenin-3 is present in many pyramidal neurons throughout cortex and hippocampus but is most highly expressed in interneurons. The transmembrane form of calsyntenin-3 can trigger excitatory and inhibitory presynapse differentiation in contacting axons. However, calsyntenin-3-shed ectodomain, which represents about half the calsyntenin-3 pool in brain, suppresses the ability of multiple α-neurexin partners including neuroligin 2 and LRRTM2 to induce presynapse differentiation. Clstn3(-/-) mice show reductions in excitatory and inhibitory synapse density by confocal and electron microscopy and corresponding deficits in synaptic transmission. These results identify calsyntenin-3 as an α-neurexin-specific binding partner required for normal functional GABAergic and glutamatergic synapse development.
    Neuron 10/2013; 80(1):113-128. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.07.016 · 15.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroligins are transmembrane cell adhesion proteins with a key role in the regulation of excitatory and inhibitory synapses. Based on previous in vitro and ex vivo studies, neuroligin-1 (NL1) has been suggested to play a selective role in the function of glutamatergic synapses. However, the role of NL1 has not yet been investigated in the brain of live animals. We studied the effects of NL1-deficiency on synaptic transmission in the hippocampal dentate gyrus using field potential recordings evoked by perforant path stimulation in urethane-anesthetized NL1 knockout (KO) mice. We report that in NL1 KOs the activation of glutamatergic perforant path granule cell inputs resulted in reduced synaptic responses. In addition, NL1 KOs displayed impairment in long-term potentiation. Furthermore, field EPSP-population spike (E-S) coupling was greater in NL1 KO than WT mice and paired-pulse inhibition was reduced, indicating a compensatory rise of excitability in NL1 KO granule cells. Consistent with changes in excitatory transmission, NL1 KOs showed a significant reduction in hippocampal synaptosomal expression levels of the AMPA receptor subunit GluA2 and NMDA receptor subunits GluN1, GluN2A and GluN2B. Taken together, we provide first evidence that NL1 is essential for normal excitatory transmission and long-term synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus of intact animals. Our data provide insights into synaptic and circuit mechanisms of neuropsychiatric abnormalities such as learning deficits and autism.
    Brain Structure and Function 09/2013; 220(1). DOI:10.1007/s00429-013-0636-1 · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Selective synapse development determines how complex neuronal networks in the brain are formed. Complexes of postsynaptic neuroligins and LRRTMs with presynaptic neurexins contribute widely to excitatory synapse development, and mutations in these gene families increase the risk of developing psychiatric disorders. We find that LRRTM4 has distinct presynaptic binding partners, heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). HSPGs are required to mediate the synaptogenic activity of LRRTM4. LRRTM4 shows highly selective expression in the brain. Within the hippocampus, we detected LRRTM4 specifically at excitatory postsynaptic sites on dentate gyrus granule cells. LRRTM4(-/-) dentate gyrus granule cells, but not CA1 pyramidal cells, exhibit reductions in excitatory synapse density and function. Furthermore, LRRTM4(-/-) dentate gyrus granule cells show impaired activity-regulated AMPA receptor trafficking. These results identifying cell-type-specific functions and multiple presynaptic binding partners for different LRRTM family members reveal an unexpected complexity in the design and function of synapse-organizing proteins.
    Neuron 07/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.06.029 · 15.77 Impact Factor
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Publication Stats

13k Citations
1,897.63 Total Impact Points


  • 1999–2015
    • Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 1996–2014
    • Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine
      • Department of Molecular Neurobiology
      Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 1991–2013
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
  • 2011–2012
    • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2010
    • University of Southampton
      • Centre for Biological Sciences
      Southampton, England, United Kingdom
    • Kobe University
      • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      Kōbe, Hyōgo, Japan
  • 1995–2010
    • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
      • • Department of Neuroscience
      • • Department of Molecular Genetics
      Dallas, TX, United States
  • 2007
    • Sojo University
      Kumamoto, Kumamoto, Japan
    • Baylor College of Medicine
      • Department of Neuroscience
      Houston, TX, United States
    • Max Planck Society
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 1994–1999
    • University of Texas at Dallas
      Richardson, Texas, United States
  • 1993–1994
    • Salk Institute
      • Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory
      لا هویا, California, United States
    • Boston Children's Hospital
      • Department of Neurology
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 1989–1992
    • Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
      München, Bavaria, Germany