Horst, Bert van der

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Gijsbertus (Bert) van der Horst received his PhD in Biology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam where he studied the lysosomal enzyme sialidase. As a postdoctoral fellow (Department of Genetics, Erasmus MC) he has generated and characterised animal models for DNA repair disorders (e.g. Cockayne syndrome), DNA repair genes (e.g. mHR23A and mHR23B, the base excision repair gene mNTH1), as well as the photolyase-like genes mCry1 and mCry2. The mCry genes were shown to encode indispensable components of the biological clock, a major breakthrough in the field of chronobiology. For the latter work he received a ZonMW Vici award that stood at the basis of a new research line in the department, focussing on the molecular mechanism and biological impact of the circadian system. Another research line in his group focuses on the relation between defective DNA repair and UV- and chemically induced carcinogenesis, as well as (premature) aging.

Research highlights include:
 - the use of photolyase transgenic mice to pinpoint cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers as the major cause of UV-induced apoptosis (sunburn) and skin tumor formation
 - establishing a link between defective NER and premature aging
 - the finding that prematurely aging NER mice display systemic suppression of the GH/IGF1 somatotroph axis and oxidative metabolism, along with an increased antioxidant response, in an attempt to minimize the production of genotoxic reactive oxygen species, and as a consequence, relieve the pressure on their genome and extend life span.


van der Horst, G.T.J., van Steeg, H., Berg, R.J.W., van Gool, A.J., de Wit, J., Weeda, G., Morreau, H., Beems, R.B., van Kreijl, C.F., de Gruijl, F.R., Bootsma, D. and Hoeijmakers, J.H.J. (1997)
Defective transcription-coupled repair in Cockayne syndrome B mice is associated with skin cancer predisposition
Cell 89:425-435

van der Horst, G.T.J., Muijtjens, M., Kobayashi, K., Takano, R., Kanno, S., Takao, M., de Wit, J., Verkerk, A., Eker, A.P.M., van Leenen, D., Buijs, R., Bootsma, D., Hoeijmakers, J.H.J., and Yasui, A. (1999)
Mammalian blue-light photoreceptor homologs CRY1 and CRY2 are essential for maintenance of circadian rhythms
Nature 398:627-630 Addressed in Nature 398 "News and Views" section, pg. 557-558 and Science 284 "News" section pg. 421-422

Okamura, H., Miyake, S., Sumi, Y., Yamaguchi, S., Yasui, A., Muijtjens, M., Hoeijmakers, J.H.J., and van der Horst, G.T.J. (1999)
Photic induction of mPer1 and mPer2 in Cry-deficient mice lacking a biological clock
Science 286:2531-2534 Addressed in Science "Perspectives" section, pg. 2460

Schul, W., Jans, J., Rijksen, Y.M.A., Klemann, K.H.M., Eker, A.P.M., de Wit, J., Nikaido, O., Nakajima, S., Yasui, A., Hoeijmakers, J.H.J., and van der Horst, G.T.J. (2002)
Enhanced repair of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers and improved UV resistance in photolyase transgenic mice
EMBO J 21:4719-4729

Jans, J., Schul, W., Sert, Y.G., Rijksen, Y., Rebel, H., Eker, A.P.M., Nakajima, S., van Steeg, H., de Gruijl, F.R., Yasui, A., Hoeijmakers, J.H.J., and van der Horst G.T.J. (2005)
Powerful Skin Cancer Protection by a CPD-Photolyase Transgene
Curr. Biol. 15:105-115