Contact, publication, and social network information about Harvard faculty and fellows. Harvard Catalyst Profiles
Keywords
Last Name
Institution

Kai-Christian Sonntag, PH.D., M.D.

TitleAssistant Professor of Psychiatry
InstitutionMcLean Hospital
DepartmentPsychiatry
AddressMclean Hospital
M R C 223
115 Mill St
Belmont MA 02478
Phone617/855-3138
Fax617/855-3792

 Mentoring 
 current student opportunities
Available: 06/21/12, Expires: 06/30/14

Our scientific interest is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neurodegenerative and other diseases of the CNS and to develop new therapeutic tools using gene and cell therapy approaches. Our research is based on translational approaches that integrate the analysis of postmortem human brains, animal models of disease, and cell and gene-engineering paradigms to study neuronal degeneration and dysfunction. We use human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cell or neuronal conversion technologies to produce functional neural cell systems, and generate lentivirus vectors for modulating gene and miRNA expression in vitro and in vivo. Key aspects of our research refer to the characterization of factors governing neuronal cell function in Parkinson and Alzheimer’s disease, and some aspects of psychiatric disorders. Our work stems from the understanding that cell development and function depend on a strictly organized network orchestrating intracellular and environmental factors. In addition, regulatory mechanisms of transcription and translation underscore a critical role of gene expression levels in these processes. All these factors provide a temporal, positional and molecular framework to achieve normal cell development and function. Deregulated gene expression and signaling pathways are major contributors to cellular malfunction and ultimately lead to disease, and these processes are regulated by miRNAs. Our research aims to delineate these mechanisms on the molecular and cellular level. We are located at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, and look for students that are interested in basic laboratory research. We offer to teach basic techniques in molecular and cellular biology, i.e. working with DNA, RNA, proteins, plasmids, viruses, cell culture, microscopy, immunostaining techniques, etc. We also work with rodent (rats and mice) models of disease and use molecular techniques to analyze postmortem brain tissue. This includes laser capture microscopy and immunostaining techniques. Initial knowledge and skills would be helpful. Language requirement is English.

Available: 07/23/12, Expires: 07/31/14

Our scientific mission is to understand the cellular mechanisms in neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases and to develop new therapeutic tools using gene and cell therapy approaches. Our main goal is to tailor pluripotent stem cells, such as human (h)ES cells or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) to produce safe, efficient and functional neural cell populations as source for cell replacement therapy, therapy development and studying disease processes. We use this and other cell systems for a variety of applications. For example, we are interested in understanding the role of small molecules, such as microRNAs, or specific gene expression profiles in Parkinson and Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, we develop and use gene-engineering approaches based on lentiviral vector technology to test the molecular function of molecules and factors involved in neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. This includes, the expression of proteins or miRNAs in in vitro and in vivo model systems for neurodegeneration and psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia, addiction, and depression. We are located at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, and look for students that are interested in basic laboratory research. We offer to teach basic techniques and methodologies in molecular and cellular biology, i.e., working with DNA, RNA, plasmids, viruses, cell culture, microscopy, immunostaining techniques, stem cell biology, laser microdissection, gene expression profiling, animal models, and others.


 Bibliographic 
 selected publications
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
List All   |   Timeline
  1. Abelman M, O'Rourke PP, Sonntag KC. Part-human animal research: the imperative to move beyond a philosophical debate. Am J Bioeth. 2012; 12(9):26-8.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Sonntag KC, Woo TU, Krichevsky AM. Converging miRNA functions in diverse brain disorders: a case for miR-124 and miR-126. Exp Neurol. 2012 Jun; 235(2):427-35.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Chartoff EH, Damez-Werno D, Sonntag KC, Hassinger L, Kaufmann DE, Peterson J, McPhie D, Cataldo AM, Cohen BM. Detection of intranasally delivered bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells in the lesioned mouse brain: a cautionary report. Stem Cells Int. 2011; 2011:586586.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Pietersen CY, Lim MP, Macey L, Woo TU, Sonntag KC. Neuronal type-specific gene expression profiling and laser-capture microdissection. Methods Mol Biol. 2011; 755:327-43.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Andersen SL, Greene-Colozzi EA, Sonntag KC. A novel, multiple symptom model of obsessive-compulsive-like behaviors in animals. Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Oct 15; 68(8):741-7.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Sonntag KC. MicroRNAs and deregulated gene expression networks in neurodegeneration. Brain Res. 2010 Jun 18; 1338:48-57.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Sonntag KC, Wahlestedt C. RNA mechanisms in CNS systems and disorders. Brain Res. 2010 Jun 18; 1338:1-2.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Simunovic F, Yi M, Wang Y, Stephens R, Sonntag KC. Evidence for gender-specific transcriptional profiles of nigral dopamine neurons in Parkinson disease. PLoS One. 2010; 5(1):e8856.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Sonntag KC, Simunovic F, Sanchez-Pernaute R. Stem cells and cell replacement therapy for Parkinson's disease. J Neural Transm Suppl. 2009; (73):287-99.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Simunovic F, Yi M, Wang Y, Macey L, Brown LT, Krichevsky AM, Andersen SL, Stephens RM, Benes FM, Sonntag KC. Gene expression profiling of substantia nigra dopamine neurons: further insights into Parkinson's disease pathology. Brain. 2009 Jul; 132(Pt 7):1795-809.
    View in: PubMed
  11. Sanchez-Pernaute R, Lee H, Patterson M, Reske-Nielsen C, Yoshizaki T, Sonntag KC, Studer L, Isacson O. Parthenogenetic dopamine neurons from primate embryonic stem cells restore function in experimental Parkinson's disease. Brain. 2008 Aug; 131(Pt 8):2127-39.
    View in: PubMed
  12. Andersen SL, Napierata L, Brenhouse HC, Sonntag KC. Juvenile methylphenidate modulates reward-related behaviors and cerebral blood flow by decreasing cortical D3 receptors. Eur J Neurosci. 2008 Jun; 27(11):2962-72.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Brenhouse HC, Sonntag KC, Andersen SL. Transient D1 dopamine receptor expression on prefrontal cortex projection neurons: relationship to enhanced motivational salience of drug cues in adolescence. J Neurosci. 2008 Mar 5; 28(10):2375-82.
    View in: PubMed
  14. Brunlid G, Pruszak J, Holmes B, Isacson O, Sonntag KC. Immature and neurally differentiated mouse embryonic stem cells do not express a functional Fas/Fas ligand system. Stem Cells. 2007 Oct; 25(10):2551-8.
    View in: PubMed
  15. Pruszak J, Sonntag KC, Aung MH, Sanchez-Pernaute R, Isacson O. Markers and methods for cell sorting of human embryonic stem cell-derived neural cell populations. Stem Cells. 2007 Sep; 25(9):2257-68.
    View in: PubMed
  16. Seo H, Sonntag KC, Kim W, Cattaneo E, Isacson O. Proteasome activator enhances survival of Huntington's disease neuronal model cells. PLoS One. 2007; 2(2):e238.
    View in: PubMed
  17. Karki S, Pruszak J, Isacson O, Sonntag KC. ES cell-derived neuroepithelial cell cultures. J Vis Exp. 2006 Dec; (1):118.
    View in: PubMed
  18. Sonntag KC, Pruszak J, Yoshizaki T, van Arensbergen J, Sanchez-Pernaute R, Isacson O. Enhanced yield of neuroepithelial precursors and midbrain-like dopaminergic neurons from human embryonic stem cells using the bone morphogenic protein antagonist noggin. Stem Cells. 2007 Feb; 25(2):411-8.
    View in: PubMed
  19. Sonntag KC, Sanchez-Pernaute R. Tailoring human embryonic stem cells for neurodegenerative disease therapy. Curr Opin Investig Drugs. 2006 Jul; 7(7):614-8.
    View in: PubMed
  20. Krichevsky AM, Sonntag KC, Isacson O, Kosik KS. Specific microRNAs modulate embryonic stem cell-derived neurogenesis. Stem Cells. 2006 Apr; 24(4):857-64.
    View in: PubMed
  21. Wang YP, Zhao XX, Sonntag K, Wehling P, Snowdon RJ. Behaviour of Sinapis alba chromosomes in a Brassica napus background revealed by genomic in-situ hybridization. Chromosome Res. 2005; 13(8):819-26.
    View in: PubMed
  22. Sonntag KC. Implementations of translational medicine. J Transl Med. 2005 Aug 30; 3:33.
    View in: PubMed
  23. Chung CY, Seo H, Sonntag KC, Brooks A, Lin L, Isacson O. Cell type-specific gene expression of midbrain dopaminergic neurons reveals molecules involved in their vulnerability and protection. Hum Mol Genet. 2005 Jul 1; 14(13):1709-25.
    View in: PubMed
  24. Sonntag KC, Simantov R, Isacson O. Stem cells may reshape the prospect of Parkinson's disease therapy. Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2005 Mar 24; 134(1):34-51.
    View in: PubMed
  25. Sonntag KC, Simantov R, Björklund L, Cooper O, Pruszak J, Kowalke F, Gilmartin J, Ding J, Hu YP, Shen MM, Isacson O. Context-dependent neuronal differentiation and germ layer induction of Smad4-/- and Cripto-/- embryonic stem cells. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2005 Mar; 28(3):417-29.
    View in: PubMed
  26. Seo H, Sonntag KC, Isacson O. Generalized brain and skin proteasome inhibition in Huntington's disease. Ann Neurol. 2004 Sep; 56(3):319-28.
    View in: PubMed
  27. Wang YP, Snowdon RJ, Rudloff E, Wehling P, Friedt W, Sonntag K. Cytogenetic characterization and fae1 gene variation in progenies from asymmetric somatic hybrids between Brassica napus and Crambe abyssinica. Genome. 2004 Aug; 47(4):724-31.
    View in: PubMed
  28. Sonntag KC, Simantov R, Kim KS, Isacson O. Temporally induced Nurr1 can induce a non-neuronal dopaminergic cell type in embryonic stem cell differentiation. Eur J Neurosci. 2004 Mar; 19(5):1141-52.
    View in: PubMed
  29. Matter-Reissmann UB, Sonntag KC, Gilli UO, Leguern C, Schneider MK, Seebach JD. Human Fas-ligand expression on porcine endothelial cells does not protect against xenogeneic natural killer cytotoxicity. Xenotransplantation. 2004 Jan; 11(1):43-52.
    View in: PubMed
  30. Wang YP, Sonntag K, Rudloff E. Development of rapeseed with high erucic acid content by asymmetric somatic hybridization between Brassica napus and Crambe abyssinica. Theor Appl Genet. 2003 May; 106(7):1147-55.
    View in: PubMed
  31. Chung S, Sonntag KC, Andersson T, Bjorklund LM, Park JJ, Kim DW, Kang UJ, Isacson O, Kim KS. Genetic engineering of mouse embryonic stem cells by Nurr1 enhances differentiation and maturation into dopaminergic neurons. Eur J Neurosci. 2002 Nov; 16(10):1829-38.
    View in: PubMed
  32. Chung S, Andersson T, Sonntag KC, Björklund L, Isacson O, Kim KS. Analysis of different promoter systems for efficient transgene expression in mouse embryonic stem cell lines. Stem Cells. 2002; 20(2):139-45.
    View in: PubMed
  33. Sonntag KC, Emery DW, Yasumoto A, Haller G, Germana S, Sablinski T, Shimizu A, Yamada K, Shimada H, Arn S, Sachs DH, LeGuern C. Tolerance to solid organ transplants through transfer of MHC class II genes. J Clin Invest. 2001 Jan; 107(1):65-71.
    View in: PubMed
  34. Sonntag KC, Nebhard N, Haller GW, Yasumoto A, Sachs DH, LeGuern C. Assessment of transduction rates of porcine bone marrow. J Hematother Stem Cell Res. 2000 Oct; 9(5):721-6.
    View in: PubMed
  35. Sonntag KC, Haller GW, Giauffret D, Germana S, Reeves SA, Levy J, Sachs DH, LeGuern C. Regulated expression of an MHC class II gene from a promoter-inducible retrovirus. Hum Gene Ther. 2000 Sep 20; 11(14):1961-9.
    View in: PubMed
  36. Shimada H, Germana S, Sonntag KC, Banerjee P, Moore D, Sachs DH, LeGuern C. MHC class II alpha/beta heterodimeric cell surface molecules expressed from a single proviral genome. Hum Gene Ther. 1999 Sep 20; 10(14):2397-405.
    View in: PubMed
  37. Sonntag KC, Darai G. Strategy for identifying the gene encoding the DNA polymerase of molluscum contagiosum virus type 1. Virus Genes. 1996; 13(1):31-44.
    View in: PubMed
  38. Sonntag KC, Clauer U, Bugert JJ, Schnitzler P, Darai G. Identification and properties of the genes encoding the poly(A) polymerase and a small (22 kDa) and the largest subunit (147 kDa) of the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase of molluscum contagiosum virus. Virology. 1995 Jul 10; 210(2):471-8.
    View in: PubMed
  39. Sonntag KC, Schwarz-Eywill M, Hunstein W. Is interferon alpha a therapy for hepatitis B-associated polyarteritis nodosa? Br J Rheumatol. 1995 May; 34(5):486-7.
    View in: PubMed
  40. Sonntag KC, Darai G. Evolution of viral DNA-dependent RNA polymerases. Virus Genes. 1995; 11(2-3):271-84.
    View in: PubMed
  41. Schnitzler P, Sonntag KC, Müller M, Janssen W, Bugert JJ, Koonin EV, Darai G. Insect iridescent virus type 6 encodes a polypeptide related to the largest subunit of eukaryotic RNA polymerase II. J Gen Virol. 1994 Jul; 75 ( Pt 7):1557-67.
    View in: PubMed
  42. Sonntag KC, Schnitzler P, Koonin EV, Darai G. Chilo iridescent virus encodes a putative helicase belonging to a distinct family within the "DEAD/H" superfamily: implications for the evolution of large DNA viruses. Virus Genes. 1994 Mar; 8(2):151-8.
    View in: PubMed
  43. Sonntag KC, Schnitzler P, Janssen W, Darai G. Identification of the primary structure and the coding capacity of the genome of insect iridescent virus type 6 between the genome coordinates 0.310 and 0.347 (7990 bp). Intervirology. 1994; 37(5):287-97.
    View in: PubMed
  44. Sonntag, K.-C. . Identification and Characterization of the Origin of DNA Replication CIV-ori-M and the Transcriptional Activity of Insect Iridescent Virus Type 6 Between the Genome-Coordinates 0.310 to 0.347 (7990 bp). 1994.
  45. Sonntag KC, Darai G. Characterization of the third origin of DNA replication of the genome of insect iridescent virus type 6. Virus Genes. 1992 Nov; 6(4):333-42.
    View in: PubMed
  46. Handermann M, Schnitzler P, Rösen-Wolff A, Raab K, Sonntag KC, Darai G. Identification and mapping of origins of DNA replication within the DNA sequences of the genome of insect iridescent virus type 6. Virus Genes. 1992 Jan; 6(1):19-32.
    View in: PubMed
Local representatives can answer questions about the Profiles website or help with editing a profile or issues with profile data. For assistance with this profile: HMS/HSDM faculty should contact Human Resources at faculty_serviceshms.harvard.edu.
Sonntag's Networks
Click the "See All" links for more information and interactive visualizations!
Concepts
_
Co-Authors
_
Similar People
_
Same Department
Physical Neighbors
_