Henriette Aksnes

Position

Researcher, PhD, Principal investigator

Affiliation

Research groups

Research

Principal investigator and head of MemBrain research group.

Aksnes has a PhD in molecular cell biology and an MSc in molecular neuroscience. She specializes in the actin cytoskeleton, the cell’s secretory pathway and the protein modification N-terminal acetylation. Her work in recent years has focused on neurodegenerative diseases. 

 

 

ACTIVE PROJECTS

 

How do protein modifications affect our brain? 

One of the proteins that I characterized during my doctorate in the Arnesen lab was not extensively described at that time. It became clear that this enzyme had a role in the cells' secretory system and in addition there were some vague indications that it could be very important for nerve cells, something I took a special interest in since I have a background in molecular neuroscience from the Bramham lab. Through a new collaboration with neurologists at UCL, I am now uncovering clear evidence that this protein has a critical function in the brain. I am currently studying cells that are isolated from patients. These patients suffer from hereditary neurological disease because they lack a specific type of protein modification. This is incredibly exciting because we are on a track where it may be possible to describe how molecular mechanisms caused by a protein inside the brain cells have a crucial neurobiological significance. There is reason to believe that there may be a link between NAT enzymes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's. This is something I am passionate about studying further. The incidence of neurodegenerative diseases is increasing, while the treatment has major challenges. There is therefore an urgent need for research in this area. I hope that I, through my combined specialization in NAT enzymes and molecular neuroscience, will be able to contribute to filling this knowledge gap. 

Could the lack of actin N-terminal modification in cancer be linked to an increased risk of metastasis? 

During my postdoctoral period, I was involved in characterizing an enzyme, called NAA80, which modifies the actin N-terminus. Actin is one of the most abundant proteins in our cells and it is the building block of the microfilament cell skeleton. This cytoskeleton is not rigid and static as the name might suggest, but is extremely dynamic and this constant change is, amongst other things, the basis of cell motility. Normally, in a fully developed organism, the motility of our cells is kept in check so that a liver cell maintains its position in the liver and a kidney cell maintains its position in the kidney. But in cancer, the regulation can be disturbed and this can cause cancer cells to start invading neighboring tissues and migrate to other places in the body, so-called metastasis. I got particularly interested in this process when we discovered that by removing the NAA80 enzyme, cell properties changed to become hypermobile. Recently, together with students, I have fine-tuned tools to study this process as well as further described that the Golgi apparatus is fragmented in NAA80-lacking cells.

In 2022 I am co-hosting and presenting my work at a large international scientific conference in Bergen 8.-11. June. EMBO conference "Protein termini: from mechanisms to biological impact".

    Outreach

    Henriette's research communication and media coverage

    Teaching

    Courses

    BMED320 - Methods in Medical Cell Biology

                     Research and laboratory training for project assignments at Master's level.

    MOL270 - Bioethics 

                   Guestlecturer under the theme Modelorganisms.

    MOL231 - Project in Molecular Biology

                   Research and laboratory training for project assignments at Bachelor's level.

     

    Student supervision

    2023-         Main supervisor for Medical student, research track, MED, UiB. Christina W. Leerink

    2023-         Main supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Åse K. Bekkelund

    2023-         Main supervisor for PhD candidate, Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Alessia Caiella

    2023-         Co-supervisor for PhD candidate, Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Silje K. Larsen

    2022-         Main supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Anette Siggervåg

    2022-         Co-supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Inger Johanne Hellerud

    2021–22     Main supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Therese S. Hjellvoll

    2021–22     Main supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Ajia R. Pennavaria

    2021–22     Co-supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biological sciences, UiB. Camilla H. Nundal

    2021-22      Co-supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Birger H. Furnes 

    2021–         Main supervisor for PhD candidate, Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Hanne Øye

    2020 –        Co-supervisor for PhD candidate, Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Monica Hellesvik

    2020–21     Main supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Alessia Caiella

    2020–21     Main supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Liv S. Krogstad

    2020–21     Co-supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biological sciences, UiB. Ine Kjosås

    2019–20     Main supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Kristine H. Furre

    2019–20     Main supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Hanne Øye

    2018–19     Main supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Biological Sciences, UiB, Monica Hellesvik

    2019–19     Main supervisor for MSc thesis stud., UiB/Universität Stuttgart, Tobias B. Beigl

    2019–19     Main supervisor for 2 BSc students in MOL231 project course, Dept. of Biological Sciences, UiB, Ine Kjosås and Emilie Seljeseth

    2018–18     Main supervisor for 2 MSc students in BMED320 project course, Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB. Atefeh Kianian and Kristine H. Furre.

    2018–18     Main supervisor for MSc ERASMUS stud., Dept. of Biomedicine, UiB, Tobias B. Beigl

    2014–17     Co-supervisor for PhD candidate, Dept. of Molecular biology, UiB, Marianne Goris

    2013–16     Co-supervisor for PhD candidate, Dept. of Molecular biology, UiB, Sylvia Varland

    2012–16     Co-supervisor for PhD candidate, Dept. of Molecular biology, UiB, Camilla Osberg

    2011–12     Co-supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Molecular biology, UiB, Camilla Osberg

    2011–12     Co-supervisor for MSc thesis stud., Dept. of Molecular biology, UiB, Sylvia Varland

    2011–12     Co-supervisor for BSc stud., Dept. of Molecular biology, UiB, Eilen Henriksen

    Publications
    Academic article
    Masters thesis
    Errata
    Poster
    Academic lecture
    Short communication
    Academic literature review
    Lecture
    Doctoral dissertation

    See a complete overview of publications in Cristin.

    PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS (PubMed)

     

    Loss of N-terminal acetyltransferase A activity induces thermally unstable ribosomal proteins and increases their turnover in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    Guzman UH, Aksnes H, Ree R, Krogh N, Jakobsson ME, Jensen LJ, Arnesen T, Olsen JV.

    Nat Commun. 2023 Jul 27;14(1):4517. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-40224-x. PMID: 37500638 Free PMC article.

     

    NATs at a glance.

    Aksnes H✉️, McTiernan N, Arnesen T✉️.

    J Cell Sci. 2023 Jul 15;136(14):jcs260766. doi: 10.1242/jcs.260766. Epub 2023 Jul 18. PMID: 37462250 Review.

     

     

     

    Protein Termini 2022: central roles of protein ends.

    Arnesen T✉️, Aksnes H✉️, Giglione C✉️.

    Trends Biochem Sci. 2023 Jun;48(6):495-499. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2023.02.008. Epub 2023 Mar 29. PMID: 36997368

     

    Actin finally matures – uncovering the machinery and the impact

    Arnesen T✉️ and Aksnes H✉️

    Trends Biochem Sci 2023 PMID: 36804256

    Commentary on: Haahr P et al., Science 2022 10.1126/science.abq5082

     

    Expanded in vivo substrate profile of the yeast N-terminal acetyltransferase NatC

    Van Damme P✉️, Osberg C S, Jonckheere V, Glomnes N, Gevaert K, Arnesen T and Aksnes H✉️ 

    J Biol Chem, 2023 299(2):102824. PMID: 36567016

     

    Missense NAA20 variants impairing the NatB protein N-terminal acetyltransferase cause autosomal recessive developmental delay, intellectual disability, and microcephaly.

    Morrison J*, Altuwaijri NK*, Brønstad K*, Aksnes H*, Alsaif HS, Evans A, Hashem M, Wheeler PG, Webb BD, Alkuraya FS, Arnesen T.

    Genet Med. 2021 Nov;23(11):2213-2218. doi: 10.1038/s41436-021-01264-0. Epub 2021 Jul 6. PMID: 34230638

    *Shared first authorship

     

    Efficient and crucial quality control of HAP1 cell ploidy status.

    Beigl TB, Kjosås I, Seljeseth E, Glomnes N, Aksnes H✉️.

    Biol Open. 2020 Nov 12;9(11):bio057174. doi: 10.1242/bio.057174. PMID: 33184093

    ✉️Corresponding author

     

    Exploiting the potential of commercial digital holographic microscopy by combining it with 3D matrix cell culture assays

    Hellesvik M, Øye H, Aksnes H✉️. 

    Sci Rep. 2020 Sep 7;10(1):14680. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-71538-1.PMID: 32895419 

    ✉️Corresponding author

     

    N-terminal acetylation of actin by NAA80 is essential for structural integrity of the Golgi apparatus

    Beigl TB, Hellesvik M, Saraste J, Arnesen T, Aksnes H✉️. 

    Exp Cell Res. 2020 May 15;390(2):111961. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2020.111961. Epub 2020 Mar 21.PMID: 32209306 

    ✉️Corresponding author

     

    Co-translational, Post-translational, and Non-catalytic Roles of N-Terminal Acetyltransferases

    Aksnes H✉️, Ree R, Arnesen T✉️.

    Mol Cell. 2019 Mar 21;73(6):1097-1114. Review. PMID: 30878283

    ✉️Corresponding author

     

    Actin polymerization and cell motility are affected by NAA80-mediated posttranslational N-terminal acetylation of actin

    Aksnes H✉️, Marie M, Arnesen T, Drazic A.

    Commun Integr Biol. 2018 Oct 21;11(4):e1526572. PMID: 30534344

    ✉️Corresponding author

     

    N-terminal Acetylation Levels Are Maintained During Acetyl-CoA Deficiency in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    Varland S, Aksnes H, Kryuchkov F, Impens F, Van Haver D, Jonckheere V, Ziegler M, Gevaert K, Van Damme P, Arnesen T.

    Mol Cell Proteomics. 2018 Dec;17(12):2309-2323. PMID: 30150368

     

    NAA80 is actin's N-terminal acetyltransferase and regulates cytoskeleton assembly and cell motility

    Drazic A#Aksnes H#, Marie M#, Boczkowska M, Varland S, Timmerman E, Foyn H, Glomnes N, Rebowski G, Impens F, Gevaert K, Dominguez R, Arnesen T.

    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Apr 24;115(17):4399-4404. PMID: 29581253

    # Shared first authorship

    Best paper of the year, Faculty of Medicine, UiB

    Received attention:

    From the cover Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2018; vol. 115 no. 17.

    Commented in: NATure of actin amino-terminal acetylation Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115(17):4314-16.

    Commented in: Actin's N-terminal acetyltransferase uncovered Cytoskeleton 75(7):318-22.

     

    Molecular determinants of the N-terminal acetyltransferase Naa60 anchoring to the Golgi membrane

    Aksnes H, Goris M, Strømland Ø, Drazic A, Waheed Q, Reuter N, Arnesen T.

    J Biol Chem. 2017 Apr 21;292(16):6821-6837. PMID: 28196861

     

    Microscopy-based Saccharomyces cerevisiae complementation model reveals functional conservation and redundancy of N-terminal acetyltransferases

    Osberg C, Aksnes H, Ninzima S, Marie M, Arnesen T.

    Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 24;6:31627. PMID: 27555049

     

    First Things First: Vital Protein Marks by N-Terminal Acetyltransferases

    Aksnes H, Drazic A, Marie M, Arnesen T.

    Trends Biochem Sci. 2016 Sep;41(9):746-760. Review. PMID: 27498224

     

    Holding it together: Naa60 at the Golgi

    Aksnes H, Marie M, Arnesen T.

    Oncotarget. 2015 Jun 30;6(18):15726-7. PMID: 26164078

     

    (Hyper)tension release by N-terminal acetylation

    Aksnes H, Drazic A, Arnesen T.

    Trends Biochem Sci. 2015 Aug;40(8):422-4. PMID: 26027460

     

    Molecular, cellular, and physiological significance of N-terminal acetylation

    Aksnes H, Hole K, Arnesen T.

    Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2015;316:267-305. Review. PMID: 25805127

     

    An organellar Nα-acetyltransferase, Naa60, acetylates cytosolic N termini of transmembrane proteins and maintains Golgi integrity

    Aksnes H, Van Damme P, Goris M, Starheim KK, Marie M, Støve SI, Hoel C, Kalvik TV, Hole K, Glomnes N, Furnes C, Ljostveit S, Ziegler M, Niere M, Gevaert K, Arnesen T.

    Cell Rep. 2015 Mar 3;10(8):1362-74. PMID: 25732826

    Best paper of the year, Dept. of Molecular Biology, UiB

     

    N-terminal acetylation by NatC is not a general determinant for substrate subcellular localization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    Aksnes H, Osberg C, Arnesen T.

    PLoS One. 2013 Apr 15;8(4):e61012. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061012. Print 2013.

    PMID: 23613772 

     

    The human N-alpha-acetyltransferase 40 (hNaa40p/hNatD) is conserved from yeast and N-terminally acetylates histones H2A and H4.

    Hole K, Van Damme P, Dalva M, Aksnes H, Glomnes N, Varhaug JE, Lillehaug JR, Gevaert K, Arnesen T.

    PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24713. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024713. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

    PMID: 21935442 

     

    All peer-reviewed publications in the database PubMed

    Henriette Aksnes - PubMed

    Forskningsmidler

     

    MIN FORSKNING STØTTES AV FINANSIERING FRA: 

    2024-28     TMS Starting grant.

    2023 -        L. Meltzers Høyskolefond. Forskningsstøtte til prosjektet "Membrane protein modifications in neurodegenerative disease".

    2023 -        Familien Blix' fond til fremme av medisinsk forskning.

    2022 -        L. Meltzers Høyskolefond. Forskningsstøtte til prosjektet "Membrane protein modifications in neurodegenerative disease".

    2022 -        UiB fond. Støtte til EMBO conference "Protein termini: from mechanisms to biological impact"

    2021 - 22    Familien Blix' fond til fremme av medisinsk forskning

    2020 - 21    Familien Blix 'fond til fremme av medisinsk forskning

    2020 - 21   Konsul Søren Falch og Øyenlege Sigurd Falchs Fond for Medisinsk Vitenskap Falch Junior award 

    2020 -        EPICS-XS (European Proteomics Infrastructure Consortium

    2020 -  21   Astri og Edvard Riisøens legat til promotering av vitenskapelig forskning 

    2019 - 20    UiB, MedFak - Forskning / nettverk / porteføljeaktiviteter 

    2019 - 21   UiB - Midler tildelt som en del av utvalgt deltakelse på Momentum karriereutviklingsprogram for yngre forskere.

     

    GJENNOM PROF. THOMAS ARNESENS PROSJEKTER STØTTES OGSÅ MITT ARBEID AV: 

    Det Europeiske Forskningsrådet (ERC) 

    Forskningsrådet (NFR) 

    Kreftforeningen (KF) 

    Helse Vest (HV)