Institut für Molekulare Medizin Mainz


In the adult organisms, millions of cells are replaced every day. The intestinal epithelium is the champion of regeneration among adult tissues. Constant maintenance and regeneration of this complex organ is mediated by intestinal stem cells. However, with age or in pathological conditions, such as inflammatory disease or cancer, intestinal stem cells fail to function properly. Understanding how intestinal stem cells are generated during development is the main focus of our research. We are investigating 1) which embryonic epithelial cells give rise to the adult intestinal stem cells, 2) how embryonic cells in the gut become stem cells, 3) what is the origin of cancer stem cells. To address these questions, we apply tools of mouse genetics, single-cell genomics and ex vivo 3D organoid assays. We have found that adult intestinal stem cells come from molecular heterogeneous embryonic progenitors (Dzama et al., 2017). Currently, we are establishing a functional role for this heterogeneity during epithelial homeostasis and cancer. We have also identified factors that control specification of intestinal stem cells during embryogenesis (Kazakevych et al., 2017; Nigmatullina et al., 2017). We will continue defining signals and cells essential for the specification and maintenance of intestinal stem cells.


Selected publications:
For a full publication list see: Pubmed

Pontarollo G, Kollar B, Mann A, Khuu MP, Kiouptsi K, Bayer F, Brandão

I, Zinina VV, Hahlbrock J, Malinarich F, Mimmler M, Bhushan S, Marini

F, Ruf W, Belheouane M, Baines JF, Endres K, Reba SM, Raker VK,

Deppermann C, Welsch C, Bosmann M, Soshnikova N, Chassaing B, Bergentall

M, Sommer F, Bäckhed F, Reinhardt C. (2023) Commensal bacteria weaken

the intestinal barrier by suppressing epithelial neuropilin-1 and

Hedgehog signaling. Nat Metab. doi: 10.1038/s42255-023-00828-5.


VV, Sauer M, Nigmatullina L, Kreim N, Soshnikova N. (2023) TCF7L1

Controls the Differentiation of Tuft Cells in Mouse Small Intestine.

Cells. 12(11):1452. doi: 10.3390/cells12111452.

Soshnikova N.

(2023) KDM6A/B Demethylases in Gut Homeostasis. Cell Mol Gastroenterol

Hepatol. 15(4):1016-1017. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2022.12.017.


VV, Ruehle F, Winkler P, Rebmann L, Lucas H, Möckel S, Diefenbach A,

Mendez-Lago M and Soshnikova N. (2022) ID2 controls differentiation of

enteroendocrine cells in mouse small intestine. Acta Physiologica, doi:


Bayer F, Dremova O, Khuu MP, Mammadova K,

Pontarollo G, Kiouptsi K, Soshnikova N, May-Simera HL, Endres K,

Reinhardt C. (2021) The Interplay between Nutrition, Innate Immunity,

and the Commensal Microbiota in Adaptive Intestinal Morphogenesis.

Nutrients, 13: 2198.

Sayols S, Klassek J, Werner C, Möckel S,

Ritz S, Mendez-Lago M and Soshnikova N. (2020). Signalling codes for the

maintenance and lineage commitment of embryonic gastric epithelial

progenitors. Development, 147(18) DOI: 10.1242/dev.188839.

Soshnikova N. (2019) Functions of SETD7 during development, homeostasis and cancer. Stem Cells Investig, 6: 26.


E, Altunoglu U, Leushacke M, Bosso-Lefèvre C, Khatoo M, Thi TH, Naert

T, Noelanders R, Hajamohideen A, Beneteau C, de Sousa SB, Karaman B,

Latypova X, Başaran S, Yücel EB, Tan TT, Vlaeminck L, Nayak SS, Shukla

A, Girisha KM, Le Caignec C, Soshnikova N, Uyguner ZO, Vleminckx K,

Barker N, Kayserili H, Reversade B. (2018) RSPO2 inhibition of RNF43 and

ZNRF3 governs limb development independently of LGR4/5/6. Nature, 557:


Dzama MM, Nigmatullina L, Sayols S, Kreim N and

Soshnikova N. (2017) Distinct populations of embryonic epithelial

progenitors generate Lgr5+ intestinal stem cells. Dev Biol, 432:


Kazakevych J, Sayols S, Messner B, Krienke C and

Soshnikova N. (2017) Dynamic changes in chromatin states accompany

specification of the adult intestinal stem cells. Nucleic Acids

Research, 45: 5770-5784.

Nigmatullina L, Norkin M, Dzama MM,

Messner B, Sayols S and Soshnikova N. (2017) Id2 controls specification

of Lgr5+ intestinal stem cell progenitors during gut development. The

EMBO J, 36: 869-885.

AG Soshnikova

Dr. rer. nat. Natalia Soshnikova
Dr. rer. nat. Natalia Soshnikova

+49 (0) 6131 17-9355

+49 (0) 6131 17-9039

Franziska Brühl

Artemiy Golden

06131 17-9370

 Josip Komso
Josip Komso

+49-6131 17-9246

Melanie Sauer


Zayed Tareq Al-Abdulraheem

06131 17-9370

Jule Urschel

Valeriya Zinina

+49-6131 17-9370

Open Positions

 Students interested to perform their Master or PhD thesis are welcome to contact Dr. Natalia Soshnikova (