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Peter Jonas


Research Project


Research Topics

  • Synaptic transmission in neuronal networks
  • Ionic channels in axons
  • Voltage and ligand gated channel expression in interneurons in hippocampus and neocortex, interneuron function
  • Molecular identification of native channels
  • Excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission
  • Dendritic function
  • Patch-clamp recording from presynaptic elements



  • Patch-clamp recording from neurons in culture and slices
  • Fast application of agonists to isolated membrane patches
  • Paired recordings
  • Ca2+ imaging
  • Single-cell RT-PCR
  • Recording from subcellular structures (dendrites, boutons), cable modeling



Academic Background

  • 1980 - 1986: Studies in Human Medicine at the University Giessen
  • 1987: Medical Doctor, subject of thesis: action of scorpion toxins on Na+ channels in myelinated nerve, summa cum laude, University Giessen
  • 1988 - 1989: Postdoc at the Physiological Institute of the University Giessen, group of Prof. Werner Vogel, Giessen
  • 1990 - 1994: Research assistent at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, department of cell physiology, group of Prof. Bert Sakmann, Heidelberg
  • 1992: Habilitation, subject of thesis: molecular identification of native voltage-gated K+ channels and glutamate-activated ionic channels with the patch clamp technique, University Heidelberg

Research Positions

  • 06/1994 - 03/1995: Associate Professor, Technical University München, Physiological Institute (Department of Prof. Josef Dudel)
  • 04/1995 - present:  Professor of Physiology, head of department, University Freiburg, Physiological Institute
  • 01/1998 - 02/1998: Visiting scientist at the Vollum Institute, OHSU, Portland, Oregon (laboratory of Prof. Gary Westbrook)
  • 06/2003 - 07/2003: Visiting scientist at the Vollum Institute, OHSU, Portland, Oregon (laboratory of Prof. Gary Westbrook)

Scientific Honors, Editorial Boards, Other Scientific Activities

  • 1991: Franz Vogt award of the University Giessen
  • 1992: Heisenberg fellowship of the DFG
  • 1994: Heinz Maier Leibnitz award of the minister for education and science
  • 1997: Medinfar European prize in physiology
  • 1998: Max Planck research award for international cooperation
  • 07/1999: Call for a chair of Physiology in Heidelberg, succession of Prof. J.C. Rüegg
  • 07/1999: Offer of the Biocenter Basel, chair of physiology and pharmacology, succession of Prof. John G. Nicholls
  • 1996 - 2003: Member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Physiology (London)
  • 1998 - 2001: Human Frontiers Science Program Organization grant (PI), title "Inhibitory synaptic signaling in interneuron networks" (with Gary Westbrook, Kunihiko Obata, and Bill Wisden)
  • Since 07/2001: Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Neuroscience
  • 2002: Member of the Leopoldina Academy
  • 2004: "Fachgutachter" of the DFG, cellular neurosciences




  • Hu H, Martina M & Jonas P (2010) Dendritic Mechanisms Underlying Rapid Synaptic Activation of Fast-Spiking Hippocampal Interneurons. Science 327: 52-58
  • Bucurenciu I, Bischofberger J, Jonas P (2010) A small number of open CA2+ channels trigger transmitter release at a central GABAergic synapse Nat Neurosci 13: 19-21
  • Schwenk J, Harmel N, Zolles G, Bildl W, Kulik A, Heimrich B, Chisaka O, Jonas P, Schulte U, Fakler B, Klöcker N (2009) Functional proteomics identify cornichon proteins as auxiliary subunits of AMPA receptors Science 323: 1313-1320
  • Doischer D, Hosp JA, Yanagawa Y, Obata K, Jonas P, Vida I, Bartos M (2008) Postnatal Differentiation of Basket Cells from Slow to Fast Signaling Devices J Neurosci 28: 12956-12968
  • Kerr A, Reisinger E, Jonas P (2008) Differential dependence of phasic transmitter release on synaptotagmin 1 at GABAergic and glutamatergic hippocampal synapses P Natl Acad Sci USA 105: 15581-15586
  • Bucurenciu I, Kulik A, Schwaller B, Frotscher M, Jonas P (2008) Nanodomain Coupling between Ca2+ Channels and Ca2+ Sensors Promotes Fast and Efficient Transmitter Release at a Cortical GABAergic Synapse. Neuron 57: 536-545
  • Schmidt-Hieber C, Jonas P, Bischofberger J (2008) Action potential initiation and propagation in hippocampal mossy fibre axons J Physiol 568: 1849-18857
  • Aponte Y, Bischofberger J, Jonas P (2008) Efficient Ca2+ buffering in fast-spiking basket cells of rat hippocampus. J Physiol 586: 2061-2075
  • Kerr AM, Jonas P (2008) The Two Sides of Hippocampal Mossy Fiber Plasticity. Neuron 57: 5-7
  • Rollenhagen A, Sätzler K, Rodríguez EP, Jonas P, Frotscher M, Lübke JHR (2007) Structural Determinants of Transmission at Large Hippocampal Mossy Fiber Synapses. J Neurosci 27: 10434-10444
  • Li LY, Bischofberger J, Jonas P (2007) Differential Gating and Recruitment of P/Q-,N-, and R-Type Ca2+ Channels in Hippocampal Mossy Fiber Boutons. J Neurosci 27: 13420-13429
  • Schmidt-Hieber C, Jonas P, Bischofberger J (2007) Subthreshold Dendritic Signal Processing and Coincidence Detection in Dentate Gyrus Granule Cells. J Neurosci 27: 8430-8441
  • Bartos M, Vida I, Jonas P (2007) Synaptic mechanisms of synchronized gamma oscillations in inhibitory interneuron networks. Nat Rev Neurosci 8: 45-56
  • Bischofberger J, Engel D, Li LY, Geiger JRP, Jonas P (2006) Patch-clamp recording from mossy fiber terminals in hippocampal slices. nature protocols 1: 2075-2081
  • Aponte Y, Lien CC, Reisinger E and Jonas P (2006) Hyperpolarization-activated cation channels in fast spiking interneurons of rat hippocampus. J Physiol 574: 229-243.
  • Vida I, Bartos M, Jonas P (2006) Shunting Inhibition Improves Robustness of Gamma Oscillations in Hippocampal Interneuron Networks by Homogenizing Firing Rates. Neuron 49: 107-117.
  • Hefft S, Jonas P (2005) Asynchronous GABA release generates long-lasting inhibition at a hippocampal interneuron-principal neuron synapse Nat Neurosci 8: 1319-1328.
  • Engel D, Jonas P (2005) Presynaptic Action Potential Amplification by Voltage-Gated Na+ Channels in Hippocampal Mossy Fiber Boutons. Neuron 45: 405-417.
  • Schmidt-Hieber C, Jonas P, Bischofberger J (2004) Enhanced synaptic plasticity in newly generated granule cells of the adult hippocampus. Nature 429: 184-187.
  • Kampa B, Clements J, Jonas P, Stuart G (2004) Kinetics of Mg2+ unblock of NMDA receptors: Implications for spike timing dependent synaptic plasticity J Physiol London 556: 337-345
  • Oliver D, Lien CC, Soom M, Baukrowitz T, Jonas P, Fakler B (2004) Functional conversion between A-type and delayed rectifier K+ channels by membrane lipids Science 304, 265-270
  • Hallermann S, Pawlu C, Jonas P, and Heckmann M (2003) A large pool of releasable vesicles in a cortical glutamatergic synapse. PNAS 100: 8975-8980
  • Lien CC and Jonas P (2003) Kv3 Potassium Conductance is Necessary and Kinetically Optimized for High-Frequency Action Potential Generation in Hippocampal Interneurons. J Neurosci 23: 2058-2068
  • Geiger JRP, Bischofberger J, Vida I, Fröbe U, Pfitzinger S, Weber HJ, Haverkampf K, Jonas P (2002) Patch-clamp recording in brain slices with improved slicer technology. Pflügers Arch 443: 491-501.
  • Bischofberger J, Geiger JRP, Jonas P (2002) Timing and efficacy of Ca2+ channel activation in hippocampal mossy fiber boutons. J. Neuroscience 22: 10593-10602
  • Bartos M, Vida I, Frotscher M, Meyer A, Monyer H, Geiger JRP, Jonas P (2002) Fast synaptic inhibition promotes synchronized gamma oscillations in hippocampal interneuron networks. PNAS 99: 13222-13227
  • Hefft S, Kraushaar U, Geiger JRP and Jonas P (2002) Presynaptic short-term depression is maintained during regulation of transmitter release at a GABAergic synapse in rat hippocampus. J. Physiol. 539: 201-208.
  • Lien CC, Martina M, Schultz JH, Ehmke H, Jonas P (2002) Gating, modulation, and subunit composition of voltage-gated K+ channels in dendritic inhibitory interneurones of rat hippocampus. J Physiol (London) 538: 405-419.
  • Jones MV, Jonas P, Sahara Y, Westbrook GL (2001) Microscopic kinetics and energetics distinguish GABAA receptor agonists from antagonists. Biophys J 81: 2660-2670.
  • Alle H, Jonas P, Geiger JRP (2001) PTP and LTP at a hippocampal mossy fiber-interneuron synapse. PNAS.98: 14708-14713.
  • Jerecic J, Schulze CH, Jonas P, Seeburg PH, Bischofberger J (2001) Impaired NMDA receptor function in mouse olfactory bulb neurons by tetracycline-sensitive NR1(N598R) expression. Mol Brain Res 94: 96-104.
  • Bartos, M., Vida, I., Frotscher, M., Geiger, J.R.P., and Jonas, P. (2001). Rapid signaling at inhibitory synapses in a dentate gyrus interneuron network. J. Neuroscience 21: 2687-2698.
  • Geiger, J.R.P., and Jonas, P. (2000). Dynamic control of presynaptic Ca2+ inflow by fast inactivating K+ channels in hippocampal mossy fiber boutons. Neuron 28: 927-939.
  • Normann, C., Peckys, D., Schulze, C.H., Walden, J., Jonas, P., and Bischofberger, J. (2000). Associative long-term depression in the hippocampus is dependent on postsynaptic N-type Ca2+ channels. J. Neuroscience 20: 8290-8297.
  • Kraushaar, U., and Jonas, P. (2000). Efficacy and stability of quantal GABA release at a hippocampal interneuron-principal neuron synapse. J. Neuroscience 20: 5594-5607.
  • Martina, M., Vida, I., and Jonas, P. (2000). Distal initiation and active propagation of action potentials in interneuron dendrites. Science 287: 295-300.
  • Kermer P, Klöcker N, Labes M, Thomsen S, Srinivasan A, Bähr M (1999) Activation of caspase-3 in axotomized rat retinal ganglion cells in vivo. FEBS Letters 453: 361-364
  • Martina, M., Schultz, J.H., Ehmke, H., Monyer, H., and Jonas, P. (1998). Functional and molecular differences between voltage-gated K+ channels of fast-spiking interneurons and pyramidal neurons of rat hippocampus. J. Neuroscience 18: 8111-8125.
  • Jonas, P., Bischofberger, J., and Sandkühler J. (1998). Corelease of two fast neurotransmitters at a central synapse. Science 281: 419-424.
  • Bischofberger, J., and Jonas, P. (1997). Action potential propagation into the presynaptic dendrites of rat mitral cells. J. Physiol. 504: 359-365.
  • Martina, M., and Jonas, P. (1997). Functional differences in Na+ channel gating between fast-spiking interneurones and principal neurones of rat hippocampus. J. Physiol. 505: 593-603
  • Geiger, J.R.P., Lübke, J., Roth, A., Frotscher, M., and Jonas, P. (1997). Submillisecond AMPA-receptor-mediated signaling at a principal neuron-interneuron synapse. Neuron 18: 1009-1023.
  • Ceranik, K., Bender, R., Geiger, J.R.P., Monyer, H., Jonas, P., Frotscher, M., and Lübke, J. (1997). A novel type of GABAergic interneuron connecting the input and the output regions of the hippocampus. J. Neuroscience 17: 5380-5394.
  • Götz, T., Kraushaar, U., Geiger, J., Lübke, J., Berger, T., and Jonas, P. (1997). Functional properties of AMPA and NMDA receptors expressed in identified types of basal ganglia neurons. J. Neuroscience 17: 204-215.
  • Koh, D.-S., Burnashev, N., and Jonas, P. (1995). Block of native Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors in rat brain by intracellular polyamines generates double rectification. J. Physiol. 486: 305-312.
  • Geiger, J.R.P., Melcher, T., Koh, D.-S., Sakmann, B., Seeburg, P.H., Jonas, P., and Monyer, H. (1995). Relative abundance of subunit mRNAs determines gating and Ca2+ permeability of AMPA receptors in principal neurons and interneurons in rat CNS. Neuron 15: 193-204.
  • Koh, D.-S., Geiger, J.R.P., Jonas, P., and Sakmann, B. (1995). Ca2+-permeable AMPA and NMDA receptor channels in basket cells of rat hippocampal dentate gyrus. J. Physiol. 485: 383-402.
  • Spruston, N., Jonas, P., and Sakmann, B. (1995). Dendritic glutamate receptor channels in rat hippocampal CA3 and CA1 pyramidal neurons. J. Physiol. 482: 325-352.



Books and Book Articles

  • Jonas P, Unsicker K (2003) Molekulare und zelluläre Grundlagen des Nervensystems In: Lehrbuch vorklinische Medizin Köln: Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag
  • Ionotropic glutamate receptors in the CNS, Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology 141, P. Jonas and H. Monyer (eds). Springer
  • Monyer, H., Jonas, P., and Rossier, J. (1999). Molecular determinants controlling functional properties of AMPARs and NMDARs in the mammalian CNS. In: Ionotropic glutamate receptors in the CNS, Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology 141, P. Jonas and H. Monyer (eds). Springer, pp. 309-339.
  • Geiger, J.R.P., Roth, A., Taskin, B., and Jonas, P. (1999). Glutamate-mediated synaptic excitation of cortical interneurons. In: Ionotropic glutamate receptors in the CNS, Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology 141, P. Jonas and H. Monyer (eds). Springer, pp. 363-398.
  • Monyer, H. and Jonas, P. (1995). Polymerase chain reaction analysis of ion channel expression in single neurons of brain slices. In: Single-channel recording, B. Sakmann & E. Neher (eds). Plenum press, pp. 357-373.
  • Jonas, P. (1995). Fast application of agonists to isolated membrane patches. In: Single-channel recording, B. Sakmann & E. Neher (eds). Plenum press, pp. 231-243.
  • von Kitzing, E., Jonas, P., and Sakmann, B. (1994). Quantal analysis of excitatory postsynaptic currents at the hippocampal mossy fiber-CA3 pyramidal cell synapse. In: Molecular and cellular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release. Raven press, New York, pp. 235 - 260.
  • Jonas, P. (1993). AMPA-type glutamate receptors - nonselective cation channels mediating fast excitatory transmission in the CNS. In: Nonselective cationic channels: Pharmacology, Physiology and Biophysics. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, p. 61 - 76.

Review Articles

  • Bartos M, Vida I, Jonas P (2007) Synaptic mechanisms of synchronized gamma oscillations in inhibitory interneuron networks. Nat Rev Neurosci 8, 45-56
  • Frotscher M, Jonas P, Sloviter SS (2006) Synapses formed by normal and abnormal hippocampal mossy fibers. Cell Tissue Res 326, 361-367
  • Bischofberger J, Engel D, Frotscher M, Jonas P (2006) Mechanisms underlying the efficacy of transmitter release at mossy fiber synapses in the hippocampal network. Pflügers Arch Eur J Physiol 453, 361-372
  • Jonas P, Bischofberger J, Fricker D, Miles R (2004) Interneuron diversity series: Fast in, fast out – temporal and spatial signal processing in hippocampal interneurons. Trends Neurosci 27: 30-40.
  • Bischofberger J, Jonas P (2002) TwoB or not twoB: differential transmission at glutamatergic mossy fiber-interneuron synapses in the hippocampus. Trends Neurosci 25: 600-603
  • Jonas, P. (2000). The time course of signaling at central glutamatergic synapses. News Physiol. Sci. 15: 83-89.
  • Melcher, T., Geiger, J.R.P., Jonas, P., and Monyer, H. (1996). Analysis of molecular determinants in native AMPA receptors. Neurochem. Int. 28: 141-144.
  • Jonas, P. and Burnashev, N. (1995). Molecular mechanisms controlling calcium entry through AMPA-type glutamate receptor channels. Neuron 15: 987-990.
  • Jonas, P. and Spruston, N. (1994). Mechanisms shaping glutamate-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents in the CNS. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 4: 366-372.
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