Bert Janssen: Structural Neurobiology

CVGroup MembersSelected Publications


    Dr. Bert Janssen
    Crystal & Structural Chemistry,
    Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research,
    Faculty of Science, Utrecht University
    Kruytgebouw, room N810
    Padualaan 8, 3584 CH  UTRECHT
    the Netherlands
    Tel: +31 (0)30 2532866

Curriculum Vitae

Bert Janssen studied Molecular Sciences at Wageningen University (MSc 2002), followed by a PhD (2007) in structural biology at Utrecht University that was awarded cum laude. During his PhD he addressed questions central to human immunology by solving crystal structures of the large complement component C3 and its activation products C3b and C3c. This revealed in detail the intricate architecture of C3 consisting of 13 domains that act in unison to protect a highly reactive group from activation and marked conformational changes of 12 domains that fully expose the reactive group upon activation of C3 into C3b. From 2008 until 2011 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford in the lab of Prof. Yvonne Jones, funded by a HFSP fellowship. In Oxford he elucidated the molecular mechanism underlying semaphorin-plexin function in neuronal connectivity. In July 2011 he returned to Utrecht University to start his own group to work on molecular signalling processes that are critical for the homeostasis and functioning of the central nervous system. In 2012 he was awarded a starting independent researcher grant (VIDI) from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and he became a team leader in the Marie Curie Initial Training Network "ManiFold". In 2015 he was awarded a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to further strengthen his research team.

Group Members


  Dimphna Meijer EMBO Long-Term Fellow

  PhD students

  Hedwich Vlieg

  Matti Pronker

  Nadia Leloup

  Lucas Chataigner

  Matthieu Zeronian

  MSc students

  Annelies Bos

Selected Publications

M.F. Pronker, S. Lemstra, J. Snijder, A.J. Heck, D.M. Thies-Weesie, R.J. pasterkamp and B.J. Janssen. (2016) 'Structural basis of myelin-associated glycoprotein adhesion and signalling.' Nature Comms Doi: 10.1038/NCOMMS13584

Y. Kong*, B.J. Janssen*, T. Malinauskas, V.R. Vangoor, C.H. Coles, R. Kaufman, T. Ni, R.J. Gilbert, S. Padilla-Parra, R.J. Pasterkamp and E.Y. Jones. (2016) ‘Structural Basis for Plexin Activation and Regulation.’ Neuron 91 548-560
*Equal contribution

M.F. Pronker, T.G. Bos, T.H. Sharp, D.M. Thies-Weesie and B.J. Janssen. (2015) 'Olfactomedin-1 has a V-shaped disulfide-linked tetrameric structure.' J Biol Chem 290 15092-15101

B.J. Janssen*, T. Malinauskas*, G.A. Weir, M.Z. Cader, C. Siebold and E.Y. Jones. (2012) 'Neuropilins lock secreted semaphorins onto plexins in a ternary signaling complex.' Nature Struct Mol Biol 19 1293-1299
*Equal contribution

B.J. Janssen*, R.A. Robinson*, F. Perez-Branguli, C.H. Bell, K.J. Mitchell, C. Siebold and E.Y. Jones. (2010) 'Structural basis of semaphorin-plexin signalling.' Nature 467 1118-1122
*Equal contribution

B.J. Janssen, A. Christodoulidou, A. McCarthy, J.D. Lambris and P. Gros. (2006) 'Structure of C3b reveals conformational changes that underlie complement activity.' Nature 444 213-216

B.J. Janssen, E.G. Huizinga, H.C. Raaijmakers, A. Roos, M.R. Daha, K. Nilsson-Ekdahl, B. Nilsson and P. Gros. (2005) 'Structures of complement component C3 provide insights into the function and evolution of immunity.' Nature 437 505-511

Full publication list in PubMed