Johan Holmberg's Group

Our group is interested in two fundamental questions:

  1. How is neuronal identity acquired during development and subsequently maintained in the adult?
  2. How do errors in the mechanisms governing neuronal differentiation and maintenance affect tumor formation and degenerative processes in the nervous system?

The vertebrate nervous system consists of a multitude of different cell types each with a unique identity and function. We are interested in how this cellular diversity is generated during development and how the established neuronal identity is subsequently maintained. A particular focus of our research is on how alternative gene programs are permanently silenced. In addition to exploring fundamental mechanisms of neuronal differentiation and identity, our research also aims to understand how errors in these processes can influence tumor formation and cellular degeneration in the nervous system. We mainly utilize different mouse models both to investigate the mechanisms underlying regulation of neuronal identity and nervous system tumor formation.

Group Member

Johan Holmberg Senior researcher
Vilma Rraklli Postdoc
Yao Shi Postdoc
Erik Södersten Postdoc
Konstantinos Toskas PhD Student
Isabelle Westerlund PhD student

Selected Publications

Combined epigenetic and differentiation-based treatment inhibits neuroblastoma tumor growth and links HIF2α to tumor suppression.
Westerlund I, Shi Y, Toskas K, Fell S, Li S, Surova O, et al
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2017 Jul;114(30):E6137-E6146

Neuroblast differentiation during development and in neuroblastoma requires KIF1Bβ-mediated transport of TRKA.
Fell S, Li S, Wallis K, Kock A, Surova O, Rraklli V, et al
Genes Dev. 2017 May;31(10):1036-1053

Elevated levels of ZAC1 disrupt neurogenesis and promote rapid in vivo reprogramming.
Rraklli V, Södersten E, Nyman U, Hagey D, Holmberg J
Stem Cell Res 2016 Jan;16(1):1-9

CHD5 is required for neurogenesis and has a dual role in facilitating gene expression and polycomb gene repression.
Egan C, Nyman U, Skotte J, Streubel G, Turner S, O'Connell D, et al
Dev. Cell 2013 Aug;26(3):223-36

Maintaining differentiated cellular identity.
Holmberg J, Perlmann T
Nat. Rev. Genet. 2012 May;13(6):429-39

Developmental BiologyStem Cell Biology