I wish to express my gratitude to all those who have given me valuable assistance during this project. I am grateful to Drs. M. C. Cardoso and H. Leonhardt for giving me the opportunity to carry out this work. My special thanks for their valuable discussions and criticisms of this work.

There are numerous other people who have assisted me in the course of this project. The group of Dr. M. Bader, especially Drs. T. Walther and M. Reule were very helpful providing me with the mice and their assistance anytime I needed. I would also like to mention the valuable assistance of L. Li during the embryo studies and the technical help provided by Dr. C. Quensel. I also want to mention D. Hänlein for his assistance with computer and printers.

Dr. H. P. Rahn and I. Grunewald deserve special mention for their technical assistance, continuous support and friendship. They also made it possible that this work reached an end. I also have to mention each of my colleagues who in one way or the other have made my work a pleasure. I would like to mention Drs. J. Meding, A. Sportbert and J. B. Margot who always have had a piece of advice at difficult times. It was specially nice to work with J. B. Margot at some stages of this study. Hariharan for the many work discussions and his company during the endless nights in the lab and Dr. W. Derer for his encouragement. I also appreciate the reading and comments of this work by most of my colleagues. Outside science, I would like to mention the many medical doctors in the department who were a constant source of entertaiment with their notorius jokes and sense of humour.

During the course of this work a very special family was always there whenever I needed it. They are the family Boschan, their members Anne, Christoph and Cornelia are just like my own family by now. They did not only have infinitive patience trying to understand my German but they also got involved with my daily life in the lab.

Finally, I would like to thank M. Grupe for his help, advice, support during the many sleepless nights and patience through this undertaking.

Thank you for the support and understanding which you all have shown.

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