Scroll to Section:

RÜDIGER KLEIN and his research group are interested in the question of how newly born cells, so-called neurons, communicate with other cells during embryonic development and how this communication shapes the brain. During development, neurons explore their environment for the presence of chemical signals. One family of such chemical signals are called FLRTs. It is assumed that these FLRT proteins tell the neurons in which way to migrate from the inner to the outer layer of the cortex and, thereby, control cortex folding. As Rüdiger Klein explains in this video, the researchers manipulated genes of mice to find out how exactly this mechanism works. Their results suggest that there is an inverse correlation between the levels of FLRT and the degree of cortex folding: the less FLRT, the more folding we see. Their findings offer new insights into the mechanisms of the folding of the human brain.


Rüdiger Klein is Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology and Head of the Department ‘Molecules – Signals – Development’. He is also Honorary Professor of Biology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Furthermore, he is member of the editorial boards of the EMBO Journal and of Neural Development and member of the scientific advisory boards of the Center for the Biology of Disease, Leuven, and of the Center for Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain, Göttingen. In addition, he is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and recipient of the Remedios Caro Almela Prize for Research in Developmental Neurobiology (2008).


Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence

The Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence (MPI-BI) is devoted to basic research on topics in behavioral ecology, evolutionary research and neuroscience. Around 500 employees from more than 50 nations study how animal organisms acquire, store, apply and pass on knowledge about their environment in order to find ever-new solutions to problems and adapt to a constantly changing environment.

The MPI-BI was established in January 2022 as the result of the merger of the two Max Planck Institutes of Neurobiology and for Ornithology. The legal founding of the institute takes place on January 1, 2023.

Show more

Original publication

Regulation of Cerebral Cortex Folding by Controlling Neuronal Migration via FLRT Adhesion Molecules

Borrell Víctor, del Toro Daniel, Ruff Tobias, Cederfjäll Erik, Villalba Ana, Seyit-Bremer Gönül and Klein Rüdiger
Published in 2017

Reading recommendations

Cortical Folding: When, Where, How, and Why?

Striedter Georg F., Srinivasan Shyam and Monuki Edwin S.
Annual Review of Neuroscience
Published in 2015

Growth and Folding of the Mammalian Cerebral Cortex: From Molecules to Malformations

Sun Tao and Hevner Robert F.
Nature Reviews Neuroscience
Published in 2014

FLRT Structure: Balancing Repulsion and Cell Adhesion in Cortical and Vascular Development

others, del Toro Daniel, Ruff Tobias, Seyit-Bremer Gönül, Seiradake Elena, Nagel Daniel, Cop Florian, Härtl Ricarda, Harlos Karl, Border Ellen Clare and Acker-Palmer Amparo
Published in 2014

FLRT2 and FLRT3 Act as Repulsive Guidance Cues for Unc5-positive Neurons

others, del Toro Daniel, Klein Rüdiger, Yamagishi Satoru, Hampel Falko, Hata Katsuhiko, Schwark Manuela, Kvachnina Elena, Bastmeyer Martin, Yamashita Toshihide and Tarabykin Victor
The EMBO Journal
Published in 2011
Show more