Alwin Köhler elected corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
Congratulations to Alwin Köhler, who has become a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW).
Kristina Djinović-Carugo leaves the Perutz to become Head of EMBL Grenoble
Congratulations to Kristina Djinović-Carugo, who has been appointed as the head of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Grenoble as of July 2022.
MSCA Postdoc Fellowship for Elias Adriaenssens
Congratulations to Elias Adriaenssens, who has been awarded a prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship. A biochemist by training, Elias will work in the lab of Sascha Martens to reconstitute mitophagy in vitro, with the aim of better understanding its involvement in Parkinson’s disease.
New lessons from an old master
3-phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) is an essential protein kinase that regulates signaling pathways involved in growth, survival, and proliferation. Often dubbed a ‘master kinase’, it controls the activity of up to 23 other downstream kinases. However, whether its own activity is regulated is controversial. The lab of Thomas Leonard has now elucidated the mechanism of activation of PDK1. Their findings, published in Nature Communications, show that signaling lipids relieve autoinhibition of PDK1, which permits its dimerization and activation on the membrane.
Supporting scientists from Ukraine
The Max Perutz Labs are actively seeking to support scientists from Ukraine at any career stage. Several of our research groups are able to host scientists in research areas ranging from mechanistic cell biology, RNA biology, cellular signal transduction, autophagy, structural biology to infection and immunity.
FWF Stand-Alone grants awarded to Max Perutz Labs scientists
The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has awarded individual project grants to Manuela Baccarini, Martin Leeb, and Pavel Kovarik for a total funding of € 1.3 million. The scientists, who are all part of the SMICH doctoral program at the Max Perutz Labs, will lead exciting projects in cell signalling, immunity, and cell fate determination respectively.
Max Perutz PhD Fellowships awarded
The Max Perutz Labs recognize the most ambitious and innovative PhD projects at the institute with the Max Perutz PhD Fellowship. This year’s winners are Júlia Garcia Baucells (Dammermann Lab) and Paulina Kettel (Karagöz Lab). Their respective projects will investigate the material properties of centrosomes and the unfolded protein response.
Cell fate determination: making sense out of nonsense
Nonsense mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a cellular surveillance mechanism that detects and degrades potentially dangerous mRNA transcripts containing premature stop codons. Reporting in Genes & Development, the lab of Martin Leeb has discovered a role for NMD in controlling the transition of stem cells from naïve to formative pluripotency. The study is a collaboration with the groups of Stefan Ameres, Christa Bücker and Arndt von Haeseler at the Max Perutz Labs, as well as researchers from the University of Cologne, the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology.
Ignaz Lieben Prize awarded to Kristin Tessmar-Raible
Congratulations to group leader Kristin Tessmar-Raible who has received the oldest and highest award of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Ignaz Lieben Prize. The prize recognizes Kristin’s work in the field of molecular chronobiology.
Resistance and tolerance: two sides of the same coin
Interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1α) and Interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β) are signaling molecules that regulate inflammation and immunity in response to infection. They bind to the same receptor and were previously thought to be redundant. In a new study published in Science Advances, the lab of Pavel Kovarik has discovered that IL-1α and IL-1β exhibit tissue-specific expression patterns and have distinct functions in the defense against bacterial infections. Whereas IL-1β drives bacterial clearance and hence resistance, IL-1α is essential for host defense by promoting tolerance to infections.
Peter Schlögelhofer promoted to University Professor
Congratulations to group leader Peter Schlögelhofer, who has been promoted to full professor by the University of Vienna. Using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, Peter’s lab studies the molecular mechanisms of meiotic recombination, an important process for all sexually reproducing organisms, including humans, plants and animals. In the coming years the lab plans to deepen our mechanistic understanding of meiosis while also branching out into more applied fields of meiosis research.
Keeping meiotic entry in check
The differentiation of germline progenitor cells into meiocytes is crucial for the production of healthy gametes. In C. elegans, this step is governed by three post-transcriptional pathways, one of which relies on specific protein degradation mediated by the SCF PROM-1 ubiquitin ligase. In new work published in Science Advances, the lab of Verena Jantsch has identified the protein phosphatase PPM-1.D as a target of PROM-1 and a novel meiotic regulator. The work is a collaboration with the lab of Sebastian Falk at the Max Perutz Labs as well as the lab of Tim Schedl from Washington University School of Medicine and the lab of Yumi Kim from John Hopkins University.