Claus Munck Petersen


The Vps10p-D receptors (or sortilins) constitute a family of five type one receptors. The receptors are expressed in many tissues but are particularly abundant in the system, notably in the brain. Each receptor contains a unique ten-bladed b-propeller at the N-terminus, and a conserved central tunnel in the b-propeller harbors binding sites for a variety of ligands, including neurotrophic proteins and peptides as well as soluble and transmembrane receptors.  The short intracellular part of the receptors comprise several consensus motifs for binding of different types of cytoplasmic interactors.

By now it is clear that the sortilins are truly multifunctional.  They modulate the signaling and turnover of several neurotrophic factors, they mediate sorting and intracellular transport of target proteins, and deficiency in one or more of the receptors seems associated with neurologic and mental disorders like ADHD and Alzheimers Disease. However, the underlying mechanisms and the full functional capacity of the sortilins are still largely unknown, and need further clarification.

Research interests

Molecular, cellular and physiological functions of the Vps10p-domain receptors, with particular focus on Sortilin and SorLA .

Identification of new ligands (soluble and transmembrane); Vps10p-domain structure; implications of receptor:ligand complex formation on protein structure and cellular functions; receptor trafficking; identification and characterization of cytosolic interactors and their possible role in the machinery that governs receptor sorting and signaling.


Studies of Vps10p-D receptors in tissue and cultured wild-type, notably neuronal, cells, and in transfected and untransfected cell-lines; ‘Large scale’ affinity-purification of receptors from tissues and cell cultures;  Studies of protein:protein interactions using Surface Plasmon Resonance (BIAcore) and Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC200); sub-cellular fractionation and gradient centrifugation; immuno-fluorescence microscopy, including ‘high content screening and live-imaging; yeast two-hybrid screening; Golgi-endosome sorting as determined by transport of enzymes in mannose 6-phosphate receptor deficient cells trasfected with chimeric receptors.

Collaborators and centres

  • The MIND-center
  • Peder Madsen, Morten Nielsen, Anders Nykjaer, Simon Glerup, Christian Vaegter, Olav Andersen, Department of Biomedicine
  • Dirk Bender, Jens Nyengaard, Kimmo Jensen, Department of Clinical Medicine, AU
  • Søren Thirup, Poul Nissen, Faculty of Science and Technology, AU
  • Thomas Willnow, Max Delbrück Center, Berlin
  • Peter Schu, University of Göttingen, Germany
  • Mart Sarma, University of Helsinki, Finland

Research group members

Group leader

Claus Munck Petersen

Professor Emeritus


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