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Zoology and Developmental Biology

PD Dr. rer. nat. Heiko Harten

PD Dr. rer. nat. Heiko Harten

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Curriculum vitae



We apply Drosophila melanogaster as a model to understand the developmental and physiological functionality of metalloproteases. In this regard, we are particularly interested in characterizing the molecular mechanisms by which these enzymes regulate proper function and contraction of muscle and heart cells. To address these questions, we take advantage of the genetic amenability of the Drosophila system and apply a broad range of cell biological, protein biochemical, and cell imaging techniques. To assess the relevance our results may have for a better understanding of human heart disease, we established a collaboration with the Heart- and Diabetes-Center NRW in Bad Oeynhausen.

Research topics

  • Metalloproteases in Drosophila
  • Heart and muscle function
  • Peptide metabolism
  • Energy metabolism

Model systems

  • Drosophila models for human disease
  • Peptide metabolism in cultured Drosophila cells
  • Lepidopteran cells as efficient protein factories


  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Proteomics
  • Drosophila genetics
  • Ca2+-imaging in live cells
  • Confocal laser scanning microscopy
  • Semi-automated heartbeat analysis

    Selected publications

    Schiemann R, Buhr A et al (2022) Neprilysins regulate muscle contraction and heart function via cleavage of SERCA-inhibitory micropeptides. Nat Commun. 13:4420. pdf

    Schiemann R, et al. (2019) Identification and in vivo characterisation of cardioactive peptides in Drosophila melanogaster. Int J Mol Sci. 20(1):2, doi: 10.3390/ijms20010002 pdf

    Hallier B, et al. (2016) Drosophila neprilysins control insulin signaling and food intake via cleavage of regulatory peptides. eLife 5:e19430, doi: 10.7554/eLife.19430. pdf