Felix Meissner Laboratory

Protein-centric Discovery Tools

Technology drives discovery.

Project details

We develop chemical, biorthogonal, biochemical and proteomics strategies as ‘enabling discovery tools’ to gain novel insights into immune biology. We focus on approaches that capture molecular protein states that are not accessible with other omics technologies, such as interactions, sub-, and extracellular localizations and post-translational modifications.

  • Our unbiased and sensitive secretomics method quantifies more than 50 cytokines and proteins with yet unknown extracellular functions released from rare primary cell populations. (Meissner et al 2013, Frauenstein et al 2018).
  • Our novel generation of MS cleavable isobaric mass (EASI) tags enables an unprecedentedly accurate quantification for virtually all proteomics applications on comparably cost-effective benchtop mass spectrometers (Virreira-Winter et al. 2018).
  • Our experimental and computational protein-centric framework establishes ‘social cellular communication networks’ based on ligand-receptor and receptor-receptor interactions an pinpoints intercellular signaling circuits altered in pathology (Rieckmann et al 2017).
  • Our combined genetic, pharmacological and biochemical secretomics approach dissects active secretory pathways, receptor shedding, extracellular vesicle, pore-formation, and membrane rupture-mediated protein release during programmed cell death (Tanzer et al 2020, Phulphagar et al 2021).
  • To define key proteins, their modifications, or physical and functional connections in immunological processes, we employ rigorous statistical methods and advanced computational approaches. Sharing of knowledge is an integral part of our research, and we conceive concepts to visualize high-dimensional data and make them publically available (see www.immprot.org).
  • Currently, we are expanding our intercellular signaling analyses to physiological systems in co-culture, organoids and in vivo, employing cell-type-specific labelling to define the cellular origin of proteins.
  • We are currently developing methods to identify receptors of previously unknown released proteins and post-translationally modified protein variants.

Project-related publications

Direct proteomic quantification of the secretome of activated immune cells

Meissner F, Scheltema RA, Mollenkopf HJ, Mann M.

Science. 2013 Apr 26;340(6131):475-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1232578.

Social network architecture of human immune cells unveiled by quantitative proteomics

Rieckmann JC, Geiger R, Hornburg D, Wolf T, Kveler K, Jarrossay D, Sallusto F, Shen-Orr SS, Lanzavecchia A, Mann M, Meissner F.

Nat Immunol. 2017 May;18(5):583-593. doi: 10.1038/ni.3693. Epub 2017 Mar 6.

EASI-tag enables accurate multiplexed and interference-free MS2-based proteome quantification

Virreira Winter S, Meier F, Wichmann C, Cox J, Mann M, Meissner F.

Nat Methods. 2018 Jul;15(7):527-530. doi: 10.1038/s41592-018-0037-8. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Proteomics reveals distinct mechanisms regulating the release of cytokines and alarmins during pyroptosis

Phulphagar K, Kühn LI, Ebner S, Frauenstein A, Swietlik JJ, Rieckmann J, Meissner F.

Cell Rep. 2021 Mar 9;34(10):108826. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108826.

Project-related funding

SFB 1335

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

SFB 1454

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)



Project-related scientists

Felix Meissner Lab
Felix Meissner Lab
Felix Meissner Lab
Felix Meissner Lab
Felix Meissner Lab
Felix Meissner Lab

Other Projects