The cell nucleus is a fascinating organelle, in which an organism’s DNA is protected, decoded and duplicated. The nucleus is surrounded by not one, but two membrane sheets: the outer and the inner nuclear membrane. These two membranes connect with each other at membrane openings occupied by nuclear pores. The outer nuclear membrane also connects to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), an extended membrane network in the cytoplasm.
Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) give rise to blood and immune cells of the body, and are therefore essential for our survival. They are in a dormant state, but whenever new blood needs to be formed, such as after blood loss or chemotherapy, they are rapidly activated to compensate for the loss. After completing their mission, they need to go back to their dormant state. The group of Manuela Baccarini at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, has now shown how intracellular signalling can safeguard this delicate balance between activation and dormancy. Their results are published in the prominent journal Cell Stem Cell.
Thomas Juffmann is awarded a renowned ERC Starting Grant of the European Research Council, which funds ground-breaking basic research. The funding of €1.5 million enables Juffmann to develop new microscopy methods at the interface of physics and biology. Dr. Juffmann, a member of the University Physics department, will now establish his research group at MFPL to foster interdisciplinarity and innovative collaborations.
Multidrug resistance of microbes poses a serious global threat to human health. Such resistant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae significantly reduce therapeutic options for the treatment of Klebsiella-induced, potentially fatal pneumonia or sepsis. Pavel Kovarik and his team at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL), a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, together with colleagues at Queen’s University Belfast now report new insights into how immune cells communicate at the site of infection and join forces in the fight against Klebsiella infections. Their results, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, might be used for the development of alternatives to ineffective anti-microbial drugs
Behavior experiments are useful tools to study brain function. Standard experiments to investigate behavior in popular lab animals such as fish, flies or mice however only incompletely mimic natural conditions. The understanding of behavior and brain function is thus limited. Virtual Reality (VR) helps in generating a more natural experimental environment but requires immobilization of the animal, disrupting sensorimotor experience and causing altered neuronal and behavioral responses. Researchers at the University of Freiburg, and the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL), a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, in collaboration with groups at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) and the MPI for Ornithology in Konstanz, have now developed a VR system for freely moving animals – FreemoVR - to overcome most of these limitations.
Led by highly qualified scientists, the research groups in Christian Doppler (CD) Laboratories work on application-oriented basic research. They search for innovative answers to current research questions in close coordination with industrial partners. As a consequence, the Christian Doppler Research Association is internationally considered as best practice example. The new laboratory, which is supported by funding from the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW), is concerned with knowledge-based structural biology and biotechnology and will develop foundations that might lead to new therapeutic methods for diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
A new bioinformatics tool to compare genome data has been developed by teams from the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, together with researchers from Australia and Canada. The program called “ModelFinder” uses a fast algorithm and allows previously not attainable new insights into evolution. The results are published in the influential journal Nature Methods.
To fit into the nucleus, the roughly two-meter long DNA needs to fold. This effort can only succeed if the DNA passes multiple packaging stages – from the double helix to whole chromosomes. From this folding process, various three-dimensional structures of the genome arise that interact with each other and thus influence cellular processes. For the first time, scientists from Martin Leeb’s group at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL), a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, and the University of Cambridge succeeded in calculating the 3D structures of mammalian genomes in single cells. The results were published in the renowned journal Nature.
Changes leading to the hyperactivation of the protein kinase Akt are observed in almost 50% of all human tumors. Understanding Akt’s regulatory mechanisms is therefore essential for developing and improving cancer therapies. Researchers from the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna, propose a completely new model of Akt regulation, limiting its activity to discrete locations within the cell – cellular membranes. The results are published in the journal Molecular Cell.
Manuela Baccarini and her team at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) of the University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna are one step closer to unravelling the mechanisms behind liver cancer. The researchers discovered that RAF1, a protein known as an oncogene in other systems, unexpectedly acts as a tumour suppressor in hepatocellular carcinoma. The study is published in the renowned journal Nature Communications.
“Till death do us part” – for marine bristle worms, these words are invariably true: Shortly after mating, the parent worms die, leaving thousands of newly fertilized eggs to develop in the water. This extreme all-or-nothing mode of reproduction demonstrates a general principle: Animals need to decide if they invest their available energy stores either in growth or in reproduction. Researchers around Florian Raible at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) of the University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna were now able to solve a 60-year-old riddle and determine the molecule that orchestrates this decision in marine bristle worms. Their results are published in the journal eLife.
Humans, as well as many other organisms, possess internal clocks. The exact timing, however, can differ between individuals – for instance, some people are early risers whereas others are "night owls". Neurobiologist Kristin Tessmar-Raible and her team at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) of the University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna investigated that underlie such timing variations or "chronotypes". The non-biting midge Clunio marinus has two internal clocks, since it times its reproduction according to sun and moon. The team around Tessmar-Raible and Postdoc Tobias Kaiser were now able to identify relevant genes for this adaptation, and published their results in the current issue of "Nature".