PD Dr. Richard Alfred Kammerer

Photo of Richard Kammerer

Group Leader

Paul Scherrer Institute
Forschungsstrasse 111
5232 Villigen PSI

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are among the most potent toxins known. They can cause botulism, a rare but potentially fatal paralytic disease and belong to the most dangerous bioweapons. Despite their toxicity, in particular BoNT/A1, commonly known as Botox, is used in cosmetic and medical applications. A detailed molecular understanding of BoNT/host protein interactions is fundamental both for developing strategies against botulism and for generating improved BoNT variants for medical applications.


Towards this aim, we are investigating toxin translocation and toxin/host receptor interactions. Furthermore, we are developing tools to study the structure and function of botulinum neurotoxins. To address these challenges, we use X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) in combination with biophysical, biochemical, and cell biological methods.

  1. Leka O, Wu Y, Li X, Kammerer RA. (2021) Crystal structure of the catalytic domain of botulinum neurotoxin subtype A3. J Biol Chem. 2021 Jan-Jun;296:100684. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100684.
  2. Benoit RM, Schärer MA, Wieser MM, Li X, Frey D, Kammerer RA (2017) Crystal structure of the BoNT/A2 receptor-binding domain in complex with the luminal domain of its neuronal receptor SV2C.  Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 2; 7:43588. doi: 10.1038/srep43588.
  3. Kammerer RA, Benoit RM (2014) Botulinum neurotoxins: new questions arising from structural biology. Trends Biochem Sci. 2014 Nov;39(11):517-26. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2014.08.009.
  4. Benoit RM, Frey D, Hilbert M, Kevenaar JT, Wieser MM, Stirnimann CU, McMillan D, Ceska T, Lebon F, Jaussi R, Steinmetz MO, Schertler GF, Hoogenraad CC, Capitani G, Kammerer RA (2014) Structural basis for recognition of synaptic vesicle protein 2C by botulinum neurotoxin A. Nature. 2014 Jan 2;505(7481):108-11. doi: 10.1038/nature12732.


  • Nass KJ, Ilie IM, Saller MJ, Driessen AJM, Caflisch A, Kammerer RA, et al.
    The role of the N-terminal amphipathic helix in bacterial YidC: insights from functional studies, the crystal structure and molecular dynamics simulations
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta: Biomembranes. 2022; 1864(3): 183825 (9 pp.). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamem.2021.183825
  • Trebosc V, Lucchini V, Narwal M, Wicki B, Gartenmann S, Schellhorn B, et al.
    Targeting virulence regulation to disarm Acinetobacter baumannii pathogenesis
    Virulence. 2022; 13(1): 1868-1883. https://doi.org/10.1080/21505594.2022.2135273
  • Choo JPS, Kammerer RA, Li X, Li Z
    High-Level Production of Phenylacetaldehyde using Fusion-Tagged Styrene Oxide Isomerase
    Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis. 2021; 363(6): 1714-1721. https://doi.org/10.1002/adsc.202001500
  • Leka O, Wu Y, Li X, Kammerer RA
    Crystal structure of the catalytic domain of botulinum neurotoxin subtype A3
    Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2021; 296: 100684 (8 pp.). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100684
  • Fiedler T, Fabrice TN, Studer V, Vinet A, Faltova L, Kammerer RA, et al.
    Homodimerization of coronin A through the C-terminal coiled-coil domain is essential for multicellular differentiation of Dictyostelium discoideum
    FEBS Letters. 2020; 594(13): 2116-2127. https://doi.org/10.1002/1873-3468.13787
  • Li X, Brunner C, Wu Y, Leka O, Schneider G, Kammerer RA
    Structural insights into the interaction of botulinum neurotoxin a with its neuronal receptor SV2C
    Toxicon. 2020; 175: 36-43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2019.11.010
  • Faltova L, Jiang K, Frey D, Wu Y, Capitani G, Prota AE, et al.
    Crystal structure of a heterotetrameric katanin p60:p80 complex
    Structure. 2019; 27(9): 1375-1383.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2019.07.002
  • Jiang K, Faltova L, Hua S, Capitani G, Prota AE, Landgraf C, et al.
    Structural basis of formation of the microtubule minus-end-regulating CAMSAP-katanin complex
    Structure. 2018; 26(3): 375-382. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2017.12.017
  • Benoit RM, Schärer MA, Wieser MM, Li X, Frey D, Kammerer RA
    Crystal structure of the BoNT/A2 receptor-binding domain in complex with the luminal domain of its neuronal receptor SV2C
    Scientific Reports. 2017; 7: 43588 (7 pp.). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep43588
  • Burnett A, Gomez I, Davila De Leon D, Ariaans M, Progias P, Kammerer RA, et al.
    Angiopoietin-1 enhances neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro and migration in vivo through interaction with CD18 and release of CCL4
    Scientific Reports. 2017; 7(1): 2332 (9 pp.). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-02216-y
  • Jiang K, Rezabkova L, Hua S, Liu Q, Capitani G, Altelaar AFM, et al.
    Microtubule minus-end regulation at spindle poles by an ASPM-katanin complex
    Nature Cell Biology. 2017; 19(5): 480-492. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncb3511
  • Kaplan AR, Brady MR, Maciejewski MW, Kammerer RA, Alexandrescu AT
    Nuclear magnetic resonance structures of GCN4p are largely conserved when ion pairs are disrupted at acidic pH but show a relaxation of the coiled coil superhelix
    Biochemistry. 2017; 56(11): 1604-1619. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biochem.6b00634
  • Kumar A, Manatschal C, Rai A, Grigoriev I, Steiner Degen M, Jaussi R, et al.
    Short linear sequence motif LxxPTPh targets diverse proteins to growing microtubule ends
    Structure. 2017; 25(6): 924-932. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2017.04.010
  • Rezabkova L, Jiang K, Capitani G, Prota AE, Akhmanova A, Steinmetz MO, et al.
    Structural basis of katanin p60:p80 complex formation
    Scientific Reports. 2017; 7: 14893 (8 pp.). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-14194-2
  • Vercellino I, Rezabkova L, Olieric V, Polyhach Y, Weinert T, Kammerer RA, et al.
    Role of the nucleotidyl cyclase helical domain in catalytically active dimer formation
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America PNAS. 2017; 114(46): E9821-E9828. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1712621114
  • Bianchi S, van Riel WE, Kraatz SHW, Olieric N, Frey D, Katrukha EA, et al.
    Structural basis for misregulation of kinesin KIF21A autoinhibition by CFEOM1 disease mutations
    Scientific Reports. 2016; 6: 30668 (16 pp.). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep30668
  • Hilbert M, Noga A, Frey D, Hamel V, Guichard P, Kraatz SHW, et al.
    SAS-6 engineering reveals interdependence between cartwheel and microtubules in determining centriole architecture
    Nature Cell Biology. 2016; 18(4): 393-403. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncb3329
  • Rezabkova L, Kraatz SHW, Akhmanova A, Steinmetz MO, Kammerer RA
    Biophysical and structural characterization of the centriolar protein CEP104 interaction network
    Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2016; 291(35): 18496-18504. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M116.739771
  • Sharma A, Aher A, Dynes NJ, Frey D, Katrukha EA, Jaussi R, et al.
    Centriolar CPAP/SAS-4 imparts slow processive microtubule growth
    Developmental Cell. 2016; 37(4): 362-376. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2016.04.024
  • Benoit RM, Frey D, Wieser MM, Thieltges KM, Jaussi R, Capitani G, et al.
    Structure of the BoNT/A1 - Receptor complex
    Toxicon. 2015; 107(Part A): 25-31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2015.08.002
  • Alfieri A, Ong ACM, Kammerer RA, Solanky T, Bate S, Tasab M, et al.
    Angiopoietin-1 regulates microvascular reactivity and protects the microcirculation during acute endothelial dysfunction: role of eNOS and VE-cadherin
    Pharmacological Research. 2014; 80: 43-51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2013.12.008
  • Benoit RM, Frey D, Hilbert M, Kevenaar JT, Wieser MM, Stirnimann CU, et al.
    Structural basis for recognition of synaptic vesicle protein 2C by botulinum neurotoxin A
    Nature. 2014; 505(7481): 108-111. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12732
  • Jayachandran R, Liu X, BoseDasgupta S, Müller P, Zhang C-L, Moshous D, et al.
    Coronin 1 regulates cognition and behavior through modulation of cAMP/Protein kinase A signaling
    PLoS Biology. 2014; 12(3): e1001820 (21 pp.). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001820
  • Kammerer RA, Benoit RM
    Botulinum neurotoxins: new questions arising from structural biology
    Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 2014; 39(11): 517-526. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tibs.2014.08.009
  • Stroud MJ, Nazgiewicz A, McKenzie EA, Wang Y, Kammerer RA, Ballestrem C
    GAS2-like proteins mediate communication between microtubules and actin through interactions with end-binding proteins
    Journal of Cell Science. 2014; 127(12): 2672-2682. https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.140558
  • Weber S, Stirnimann CU, Wieser M, Frey D, Meier R, Engelhardt S, et al.
    A type IV translocated Legionella cysteine phytase counteracts intracellular growth restriction by phytate
    Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2014; 289(49): 34175-34188. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M114.592568
  • Bjelić S, Wieser M, Frey D, Stirnimann CU, Chance MR, Jaussi R, et al.
    Structural basis for the oligomerization-state switch from a dimer to a trimer of an engineered cortexillin-1 coiled-coil variant
    PLoS One. 2013; 8(5): e63370 (7 pp.). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0063370
  • Holland JP, Kang A, Cohrs S, Selivanova SV, Milicevic Sephton S, Betzel T, et al.
    Synthesis and evaluation of biphenyl compounds as kinesin spindle protein inhibitors
    Chemistry and Biodiversity. 2013; 10(4): 538-555. https://doi.org/10.1002/cbdv.201200400
  • Prota AE, Magiera MM, Kuijpers M, Bargsten K, Frey D, Wieser M, et al.
    Structural basis of tubulin tyrosination by tubulin tyrosine ligase
    Journal of Cell Biology. 2013; 200(3): 259-270. https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201211017
  • Alfieri A, Watson JJ, Kammerer RA, Tasab M, Progias P, Reeves K, et al.
    Angiopoietin-1 variant reduces LPS-induced microvascular dysfunction in a murine model of sepsis
    Critical Care. 2012; 16(5): R182 (12 pp.). https://doi.org/10.1186/cc11666
  • Alves-Silva J, Sánchez-Soriano N, Beaven R, Klein M, Parkin J, Millard TH, et al.
    Spectraplakins promote microtubule-mediated axonal growth by functioning as structural microtubule-associated proteins and EB1-dependent +TIPs (tip interacting proteins)
    Journal of Neuroscience. 2012; 32(27): 9143-9158. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0416-12.2012
  • Bjelić S, De Groot CO, Schärer MA, Jaussi R, Bargsten K, Salzmann M, et al.
    Interaction of mammalian end binding proteins with CAP-Gly domains of CLIP-170 and p150glued
    Journal of Structural Biology. 2012; 177(1): 160-167. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsb.2011.11.010
  • Beecher N, Roseman AM, Jowitt TA, Berry R, Troilo H, Kammerer RA, et al.
    Collagen VI, conformation of A-domain arrays and microfibril architecture
    Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2011; 286(46): 40266-40275. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M111.265595
  • Stroud MJ, Kammerer RA, Ballestrem C
    Characterization of G2L3 (GAS2-like 3), a new microtubule- and actin-binding protein related to spectraplakins
    Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2011; 286(28): 24987-24995. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M111.242263
  • Ciani B, Bjelić S, Honnappa S, Jawhari H, Jaussi R, Payapilly A, et al.
    Molecular basis of coiled-coil oligomerization-state specificity
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America PNAS. 2010; 107(46): 19850-19855. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1008502107

Jaussi,Rolf Dr.
Project Leader

Meury,Marcel Dr.

Rezabkova,Lenka Dr.
E-mail: lenka.rezabkova@chem.ethz.ch

Thieltges,Katherine Marie

Zimmermann,Mirjam Dr.
Research assistant