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Cell Biology: Arnoud Sonnenberg


Arnoud Sonnenberg, Ph.D.Head of Division, Group Leader

About Arnoud Sonnenberg

Cell-matrix adhesion

We have been studying the a3b1 and a6b4 integrins and how they mediate the physical attachment of cells to laminin, which is a component of the extracellular matrix. Although the two molecules also associate with the tetraspanin CD151 at the cell surface, it is in particular a3b1 that binds directly and robustly to this protein and it is associated with the actin cytoskeleton in focal adhesions. The a3b1/CD151 ternary complex is also present in the glomerulus of the kidney. We previously generated genetically modified mice lacking a3b1 or CD151 in the glomerulus, and found that they develop progressive renal failure with a decreased glomerular filtration capacity. We have shown that blood pressure is an important determinant of this progressive disease and are now working on deciphering the underlying molecular mechanisms involved. We are also studying the role of a3b1/CD151 in skin cancer and have identified an important function of this complex in the development and progression of skin tumors by controlling the migration of epidermal stem cells from their primary niche in the hair follicle bulge.
In contrast to a3b1, the a6b4 integrin is concentrated in so-called hemidesmosomes, where it is connected via the cytoskeletal linker protein plectin to the cell's intermediate filament system. To determine the role of a6b4 in hemidesmosome assembly during wound healing and tumor cell invasion we are working with cultured keratinocytes isolated from a patient with a mutation in the gene encoding the integrin b4 subunit. In another project we are using zebrafish and knockout mouse models to study how nesprin-3, a member of the nesprin family of proteins, which resides in the nuclear envelope and physically connects the cytoskeleton with the nucleoskeleton, regulates nuclear morphology and cytoskeletal dynamics during cell migration.


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Maaike Kreft



After finishing the HLO in Delft in 1998, I started as a technician in the group of Dr. Arnoud Sonnenberg.

I am involved in many of the projects that are performed to understand the mechanisms of cell adhesion.

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Ramovs, Veronika

Veronika Ramovs

Ph.D. Student


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Lisa te Molder

Ph.D. student


During my master 'medical biology' at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, I did an internship in the group of Arnoud Sonnenberg and after completing my master education in 2014, I joined as a PhD student. The focus of my research will be on the interaction between cell adhesion complexes in the regulation of cell-matrix adhesion in epithelia. To study this, I try to identify and map interactors of integrins (cell adhesion molecules) and unravel their role in the formation and regulation of cell adhesion complexes. 

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Alba Zuidema

Ph.D. Student


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Wang, Wei

Wei Wang

PhD student


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Recent publications View All Publications

  • Kindlin-1 mutant zebrafish as an in vivo model sytem to study adhesion mechanisms in the epidermis

    J Invest Dermatol. 2013 Sep;133(9):2180-90

    Postel R, Margadant C, Fischer B, Kreft M, Janssen H, Secades P, Zambruno G, Sonnenberg A.

    Link to PubMed
  • Cell-matrix adhesion of podocytes in physiology and disease

    Nat Rev Nephrol. 2013 Apr;9(4):200-10

    Sachs N, Sonnenberg A

    Link to PubMed


  • Office manager

    Mariet van den Berg

  • E-mail

  • Telephone Number

    +31 20 512 9184

Van den Berg, Mariet


'Support for our research will help to identify new molecular targets involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells'.

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