Martin Harterink: C. elegans neurobiology

CVResearchLab membersPublications


Martin Harterink

Dr. Martin Harterink
Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Biophysics
Department of Biology
Faculty of Science, Utrecht University
Kruytgebouw, room N506
Padualaan 8, 3584 CH Utrecht
The Netherlands


Curriculum Vitae

Martin Harterink studied Chemistry at the Utrecht University and acquired his PhD at the Hubrecht Institute studying Wnt signaling using the nematode C. elegans. With support of the NWO-VENI postdoc-grant he joined the Cell Biology division at the Utrecht University where he now has his independent group.


Research summary

Neurons are amongst the most complex cells of our body. Our goal is to unravel the mechanisms that shape and organize these special cells, e.g. we study how neurons make specialized compartments to receive information (the dendrites) or to send information (the axon). As a model we use the nematode C. elegans which allows us to study these processes in a living organism.

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Key is the neuronal cytoskeleton (cell-skeleton), that provides strength to the cell as well as the “transportation roads” to organize the intracellular environment. Using state-of-the-art genetic and microscopy techniques we have focused on how the microtubule cytoskeleton is organized in axons and dendrites and how this allows for selective transport by kinesin or dynein motors.

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We are currently addressing (1) how the microtubules are formed and stabilized in neurons and (2) how the surrounding tissues ensure a robust neuronal development by intercellular signaling.


Lab members

PhD students:
Liu He
Yaren Canten




He, L., van Beem, L., Snel, B., Hoogenraad, C.C., Harterink, M. (2022) PTRN-1 (CAMSAP) and NOCA-2 (NINEIN) are required for microtubule polarity in Caenorhabditis elegans dendrites. Plos Biology 17;20(11):e3001855


He, L., Kooistra,R., Das, R., Oudejans, E., van Leen, E.V., Ziegler, J., Portegies, S., de Haan, B., van Regteren Altena, A.S., Stucchi, R., Altelaar, A.F.M., Wieser, S. Krieg, M., Hoogenraad, C.C., Harterink, M. (2020) Cortical anchoring of the microtubule cytoskeleton is essential for neuron polarity eLife 15;9:e55111

Cao, Y., Lipka, J., Stucchi, R., Burute, M., Pan, X., Portegies, S., Tas, R., Willems, J., Will, L., MacGillavry, H., Altelaar, M., Kapitein, L.C., Harterink, M., Hoogenraad, C.C. (2020) Microtubule Minus-End Binding Protein CAMSAP2 and Kinesin-14 Motor KIFC3 Control Dendritic Microtubule Organization. Curr Biol Mar 9;30(5)


Freal, A. , Rai, D. , Pan, X., Tas, R., van de Willige, D., Stucchi, R., Aher, A., Yang, C., Altelaar, A.F.M., Vocking, K., Post, J.A., Katrukha, Y., Harterink, M., Kapitein, L.C., Akhmanova, A., Hoogenraad C.C. (2019) Feedback-driven assembly of the axon initial segment. Neuron, 184-201

Harterink, M., Vocking, K., Soriano Jerez, E.M., Slenders, L., Fréal, A., Tas, R.P., van de Wetering, W.J., Timmer, K., Motshagen, J., van Beuningen, S.F.B., Kapitein, L.C., Geerts, W.J.C., Post, J.A. and Hoogenraad, C.C. (2019) TRIM46 organizes microtubule fasciculation in the axon initial segment. J. Neuroscience 3105-18


Pan, X., Cao, Y, Stucchi, R., Hooikaas, P.J., Will, L. Martin, M., Akhmanova, A., Harterink, M, and Hoogenraad, C.C. (2018) MAP7D2 localizes to the proximal axon and locally promotes kinesin-1 mediated axonal cargo transport. Cell Rep 26, 1988-1999 e1986. Underlined: co-corresponding authors

Harterink, M., Edwards, S.L., de Haan, B., Yau, K.W., Kapitein, L.C., Miller, K.G. and Hoogenraad, C.C. (2018). Local dendritic microtubule organization determines efficient cargo transport in C. elegans. J Cell Sci. J Cell Sci. 20, 131. Underlined: co-corresponding authors



Harterink, M*., da Silva, M.E.*, Will, L., Turan, J., Ibrahim, A., Lang, A.E., van Battum, E.Y., Pasterkamp, R.J., Kapitein, L.C., Kudryashov, D., Barres, B.A., Hoogenraad, C.C., Zuchero, J.B. (2017). DeActs: genetically encoded tools for perturbing the actin cytoskeleton in single cells. Nat Methods 14, 479-482.


Harterink, M.*, van Bergeijk, P.*, Allier, C., de Haan, B., van den Heuvel, S., Hoogenraad, C.C., and Kapitein, L.C. (2016). Light-controlled intracellular transport in Caenorhabditis elegans. Curr Biol 26, R153-154.

Waaijers, S., Munoz, J., Berends, C., Ramalho, J.J., Goerdayal, S.S., Low, T.Y., Zoumaro-Djayoon, A.D., Hoffmann, M., Koorman, T., Tas, R.P., Harterink, M., Seelk, S., Kerver, J., Hoogenraad, C.C., Bossinger, O., Tursun, B., van den Heuvel, S., Heck, A.J., Boxem, M. (2016). A tissue-specific protein purification approach in Caenorhabditis elegans identifies novel interaction partners of DLG-1/Discs large. BMC Biol 14, 66.

Kevenaar, J.T., Bianchi, S., van Spronsen, M., Olieric, N., Lipka, J., Frias, C.P., Mikhaylova, M., Harterink, M., Keijzer, N., Wulf, P.S., et al. (2016). Kinesin-Binding Protein Controls Microtubule Dynamics and Cargo Trafficking by Regulating Kinesin Motor Activity. Curr Biol 26, 849-861.


van Beuningen, S.F., Will, L., Harterink, M., Chazeau, A., van Battum, E.Y., Frias, C.P., Franker, M.A., Katrukha, E.A., Stucchi, R., Vocking, K., Antunes, A.T., Slenders, L., Doulkeridou, S., Sillevis Smitt, P., Altelaar, A.F., Post, J.A., Akhmanova, A., Pasterkamp, R.J., Kapitein, L.C., de Graaff, E., Hoogenraad, C.C. (2015). TRIM46 Controls Neuronal Polarity and Axon Specification by Driving the Formation of Parallel Microtubule Arrays. Neuron 88, 1208-1226.


Yau, K.W., van Beuningen, S.F., Cunha-Ferreira, I., Cloin, B.M., van Battum, E.Y., Will, L., Schatzle, P., Tas, R.P., van Krugten, J., Katrukha, E.A., Jiang, K., Wulf, P.S., Mikhaylova, M., Harterink, M., Pasterkamp, R.J., Akhmanova, A., Kapitein, L.C., Hoogenraad, C.C. (2014). Microtubule minus-end binding protein CAMSAP2 controls axon specification and dendrite development. Neuron 82, 1058-1073.

Lorenowicz, M.J., Macurkova, M., Harterink, M., Middelkoop, T.C., de Groot, R., Betist, M.C., and Korswagen, H.C. (2014). Inhibition of late endosomal maturation restores Wnt secretion in Caenorhabditis elegans vps-29 retromer mutants. Cell Signal 26, 19-31.


Harterink, M., and Hoogenraad, C.C. (2013). Slide to the left and slide to the right: motor coordination in neurons. Dev Cell 26, 326-328.

Kuijpers, M., van Dis, V., Haasdijk, E.D., Harterink, M., Vocking, K., Post, J.A., Scheper, W., Hoogenraad, C.C., and Jaarsma, D. (2013). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-associated VAPB-P56S inclusions represent an ER quality control compartment. Acta Neuropathol Commun 1, 24.


Harterink, M., and Korswagen, H.C. (2012). Dissecting the Wnt secretion pathway: key questions on the modification and intracellular trafficking of Wnt proteins. Acta Physiol (Oxf) 204, 8-16.


Harterink, M.*, Kim, D.H.*, Middelkoop, T.C., Doan, T.D., van Oudenaarden, A., and Korswagen, H.C. (2011a). Neuroblast migration along the anteroposterior axis of C. elegans is controlled by opposing gradients of Wnts and a secreted Frizzled-related protein. Development 138, 2915-2924.

Harterink, M., Port, F., Lorenowicz, M.J., McGough, I.J., Silhankova, M., Betist, M.C., van Weering, J.R., van Heesbeen, R.G., Middelkoop, T.C., Basler, K., et al. (2011b). A SNX3-dependent retromer pathway mediates retrograde transport of the Wnt sorting receptor Wntless and is required for Wnt secretion. Nat Cell Biol 13, 914-923.


Silhankova, M., Port, F., Harterink, M., Basler, K., and Korswagen, H.C. (2010). Wnt signalling requires MTM-6 and MTM-9 myotubularin lipid-phosphatase function in Wnt-producing cells. EMBO J 29, 4094-4105.


Wassmer, T., Attar, N., Harterink, M., van Weering, J.R., Traer, C.J., Oakley, J., Goud, B., Stephens, D.J., Verkade, P., Korswagen, H.C., et al. (2009). The retromer coat complex coordinates endosomal sorting and dynein-mediated transport, with carrier recognition by the trans-Golgi network. Dev Cell 17, 110-122.

Rybarska, A., Harterink, M., Jedamzik, B., Kupinski, A.P., Schmid, M., and Eckmann, C.R. (2009). GLS-1, a novel P granule component, modulates a network of conserved RNA regulators to influence germ cell fate decisions. PLoS Genet 5, e1000494.


Neumann, S., Harterink, M., and Sprong, H. (2007). Hitch-hiking between cells on lipoprotein particles. Traffic 8, 331-338.