Murals create opportunities for bold, highly visible statements. Over the last few decades street art has come a long way from an act of rebellion to a respected form of art. A large mural picturing the Austrian-British Nobel Prize winner Max Perutz and his science has just been completed on the facade of the Max Perutz Labs by the artist duo Käthe Schönle and Sebastian Schager, in collaboration with the art & science project ‘WIENERWISSEN’.
How animals are able to interpret natural light sources to adjust their physiology and behavior is poorly understood. The labs of Kristin Tessmar-Raible (Max Perutz Labs Vienna, Alfred Wegener Institut, University of Oldenburg) and Eva Wolf (Johannes Gutenberg University and Institute of Molecular Biology Mainz) have now revealed that a molecule called L-cryptochrome (L-Cry) has the biochemical properties to discriminate between different moon phases, as well as between sun- and moonlight. Their findings, published in Nature Communications, show that L-Cry can interpret moonlight to entrain the monthly (circalunar) clock of a marine worm to control sexual maturation and reproduction.
Animals possess circadian clocks, or 24h oscillators, to regulate daily behavior. These typically take their cues from the periodic change of sunlight and darkness. However, many animals are also exposed to moonlight, which re-occurs with ~25h periodicity The labs of Florian Raible at the Max Perutz Labs, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, and Kristin Tessmar-Raible (Max Perutz Labs, Alfred Wegener Institute, University of Oldenburg) have now discovered that moonlight adjusts the daily clock of marine bristle worms, which helps them to fine-tune their reproductive cycle to certain hours during the night. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides an explanation for the phe-nomenon that daily clocks from flies to humans can exhibit plastic run-times.
Meiosis is a specialized cell division process required to generate gametes, the reproductive cells of an organism. During meiosis, paternal and maternal chromosomes duplicate, pair, and exchange parts of their DNA in a process called meiotic recombination. In order to mediate this exchange of genetic material, cells introduce double strand breaks (DSBs) into their chromosomal DNA. Scientists from the lab of Franz Klein from the Department of Chromosome Biology at the Max Perutz Labs, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, have now discovered that cells sometimes liberate DNA fragments at sites of paired, or double, DSBs. Whilst this presents an obvious risk of germline mutations as a consequence of erroneous repair or of integration of fragments from elsewhere at break sites, it may also be a source of evolutionary diversity. The study is published as a research article in Nature.
The new Master’s course in "Molecular Precision Medicine" is concerned with how diseases develop and how to treat them on a molecular and mechanistic level. The course, jointly organised by the Medical Universi-ty of Vienna and University of Vienna, combines scientists from the fields of basic research as well as translational and clinical research and furnishes students with comprehensive knowledge about the poten-tials, challenges, and future prospects of precision medicine. Students can now apply at: www.meduniwien.ac.at/master-mpm.