LMCB - MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

Sara Mole's picture
LMCB Group Leader, UCL Professor of Molecular Cell Biology
+44 (0)20 7679 7257
LMCB Room B105
NCL Mutation Database | BATCure | Facebook Sara Mole | Twitter @SaraEMole @BatCure
Neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinoses / Batten disease

Research synopsis

The Mole lab is interested in disease caused by genetic changes, and how study of these mutations and their effects can reveal important and complex aspects of cell biology that may otherwise be beyond current appreciation.

We are particularly interested in neurodegenerative diseases. We focus on lysosomal disorders, especially the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) or Batten disease, which are inherited neurodegenerative diseases that start in childhood. We work along the full translational pathway, studying their genetics and biology, and are developing new and much-needed therapies. Our work will help to provide new therapeutic targets for all types of neurodegeneration.

Mole lab research image

Mole lab research image

Selected publications

Berkovic SF, et al (2019).  Kufs disease due to mutation of CLN6: clinical, pathological and molecular genetic features. Brain, 142(1), 59-69. doi: 10.1093/brain/awy297.
Mole SE, et al (2019). Clinical challenges and future therapeutic approaches for neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. Lancet Neurol, 18(1), 107-116. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(18)30368-5. 
kleine Holthaus SM, et al (2018). Prevention of Photoreceptor Cell Loss in a Cln6nclf Mouse Model of Batten Disease Requires CLN6 Gene Transfer to Bipolar Cells. Mol Ther, 26(5), 1343-1353. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2018.02.027. 
Danyukova T, et al (2018). Loss of CLN7 results in depletion of soluble lysosomal proteins and impaired mTOR reactivation. Hum Mol Genet, 27(10), 1711-1722. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy076.
Bond ME, et al (2015). A central role for TOR signalling in a yeast model for juvenile CLN3 disease. Microbial Cell, 2 (12), 466-480. doi:10.15698/mic2015.12.241
Williams RE & Mole SE (2012). New nomenclature and classification scheme for the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. Neurology, 79 (2), 183-191. doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e31825f0547
Mole SE (2011). Mutations in NCL genes. In S. E. Mole, R. E. Williams, H. H. Goebel (Eds.), The Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses (Batten Disease) (pp. 340-342). Oxford University Press.
Nosková L, et al (2011). Mutations in DNAJC5, encoding cysteine-string protein alpha, cause autosomal-dominant adult-onset neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. Am J Hum Genet, 89 (2), 241-252. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.07.003
Kitzmüller C, et al (2008). A function retained by the common mutant CLN3 protein is responsible for the late onset of juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (JNCL). Human Molecular Genetics, 17, 303-312. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddm306

About the lab


Wellcome Trust
Medical Research Council 
EU H2020
Batten Disease Family Association
Batten Disease Support and Research Association USA
Children's Brain Disease Foundation USA

Research themes

Signalling pathways
Membrane trafficking


Light microscopy
Translational research
Electron microscopy


Sophia kleine Holthaus (Research Associate)
Mikel Aristorena (Research Associate)
Jose Clemente Ramos (Research Fellow)
Christopher Minnis (Research Assistant)
Yaxuan Lyu (PhD Student)


Robin Ketteler (LMCB, UK)
Robin Ali (UCL, UK)
Ahad Rahim (UCL, UK)
Paul Gissen (ICH, UCL, UK)
Tris McKay (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Thomas Wishart (Roslin Institute, UK)
Emyr Lloyd-Evans (Cardiff University, UK)
Heather Band (Batten Disease Family Association, UK)
Angela Schulz (University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany)
Torbjorn Lundstedt (AcureOmics, Sweden)
Maija Dambrova (Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Latvia)
Diego Medina (Telethon Insitute of Genetics and Medicine, Italy)
Juan Bolanos (University of Salamanca, Spain)
Jan Kehr (Pronexus Analytics, Sweden)
Claire Russell (Royal Veterinary College, UK)
Thomas Kirkegaard (Orphazyme, Denmark)
Jonathan Cooper (Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, USA)
Marc Masa (LEITAT Technological Center, Spain)