Cell biology

  • ALGEN REVOLUTIONIEREN 3D-DRUCK VON ZELLEN

    Felix Krujatz erhält für seine Doktorarbeit auf dem Gebiet der Algenbiotechnologie den Nachwuchsförderpreis der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Kirsten Mann

    Wissenschaftler der TU Dresden gewinnt Nachwuchsförderpreis der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften / Algenbiotechnologie revolutioniert 3D-Bioprinting / weltweit erster 3D-gedruckter Bioreaktor mit OLEDS macht neue Untersuchungsmethoden möglich. Felix Krujatz, Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter an der Fakultät Maschinenwesen der TU Dresden, erhält für seine Doktorarbeit „Entwicklung und Evaluierung neuer Bioreaktorkonzepte für phototrophe Mikroorganismen“ den Nachwuchsförderpreis der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig. Seine Forschungsergebnisse enthalten mehrere Weltneuheiten auf dem Gebiet der Biotechnologie und können u.a. das Bioprinting menschlicher Zellen für regenerative Therapien revolutionieren sowie eine neue Generation von Bioreaktoren hervorbringen. Der Preis wird am 09. Dezember um 16:00 Uhr in Leipzig öffentlich verliehen.

  • Cancer Research - How Cells Die by Ferroptosis

    A Fibroblast Undergoing Ferroptosis. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    Ferroptosis is a recently discovered form of cell death, which is still only partially understood. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have now identified an enzyme that plays a key role in generating the signal that initiates cell death. Their findings, published in two articles in the journal ‘Nature Chemical Biology’, could now give new impetus to research into the fields of cancer, neurodegeneration and other degenerative diseases. The term ferroptosis was first coined in 2012. It is derived from the Greek word ptosis, meaning “a fall”, and ferrum, the Latin word for iron, and describes a form of regulated necrotic cell death in which iron appears to play an important role.

  • Cholesterol important for signal transmission in cells

    CXCR4 receptor which belongs to a group known as G protein-coupled receptors. FAU/Rainer Böckmann

    Cholesterol can bind important molecules into pairs, enabling human cells to react to external signals. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg’s (FAU) Chair of Biotechnology have studied these processes in more detail using computer simulations. Their findings have now been published in the latest volume of the journal PLOS Computational Biology*. FAU researchers Kristyna Pluhackova and Stefan Gahbauer discovered that cholesterol strongly influences signal transmission in the body. Their study focused on the chemokine receptor CXCR4, which belong to a group known as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These receptors sense external stimuli such as light, hormones or sugar and pass these signals on to the interior of the cell which reacts to them. CXCR4 normally supports the human immune system. However, it also plays an important role in the formation of metastases and the penetration of HIV into the cell interior.

  • Dissecting bacterial infections at the single-cell level

    Left: a macrophage (nucleus in blue) infected with a non-replicating bacteria in yellow indicated by an arrow and on the right infected with bacteria that has replicated (red). (Picture: Antoine-Emmanuel Saliba)

    Technological advances are making the analysis of single bacterial infected human cells feasible, Würzburg researchers have used this technology to provide new insight into the Salmonella infection process. The study has just been published in “Nature Microbiology”. Infectious diseases are a leading cause of mortality worldwide. The development of novel therapies or vaccines requires improved understanding of how viruses, pathogenic fungi or bacteria cause illnesses.

  • Ectoine reduces chronic lung inflammation: A new therapeutic approach against COPD

    Illustration depicting bronchoconstriction

    Researchers at the IUF – Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine demonstrate for the first time the efficacy of the natural compound ectoine against chronic lung inflammation in an inhalation study with female volunteers from the industrial Ruhr region. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to world health organization (WHO), is currently the third leading cause of death.

  • Enough is enough - stem cell factor Nanog knows when to slow down

    STILT generates simulated protein expression of dividing cells based on measured data and a dynamic model. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    The transcription factor Nanog plays a crucial role in the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells. Previously unclear was how its protein abundance is regulated in the cells. Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich, working in collaboration with colleagues from ETH Zürich, now report in ‘Cell Systems’ that the more Nanog there is on hand, the less reproduction there is. Every stem cell researcher knows the protein Nanog* because it ensures that these all-rounders continue to renew. A controversial debate revolved around how the quantity of Nanog protein in the cell is regulated.

  • Forscher sehen Biomolekülen bei der Arbeit zu

    Ein Cytochrom-Molekül  wurde mit einem magnetischen Etikett versehen (farbige Struktur rechts oben). Zusammen mit einem Bestandteil des Cytochroms (rot) konnte dann der Abstand bestimmt werden. © AG Schiemann/Uni Bonn

    Wissenschaftlern der Universität Bonn ist es gelungen, einem wichtigen Zellprotein bei der Arbeit zuzusehen. Sie nutzten dazu eine Methode, mit der man Strukturänderungen komplexer Moleküle messen kann. Das weiter entwickelte Verfahren erlaubt es, derartige Prozesse in der Zelle zu beobachten, also der natürlichen Umgebung. Die Forscher stellen zudem eine Art Werkzeugkasten zur Verfügung, der die Vermessung unterschiedlichster Moleküle erlaubt. Ihre Studie ist jetzt in der Zeitschrift „Angewandte Chemie International Edition“ erschienen. Wenn wir eine vorweihnachtliche Walnuss öffnen wollen, benutzen wir dazu in der Regel einen Nussknacker. Der besteht im einfachsten Fall aus zwei Schenkeln, die sich um ein Gelenk gegeneinander bewegen und so Druck auf die Schale ausüben können. Ganz simpel, eigentlich – um zu begreifen, wie so ein Nussknacker funktioniert, genügt es uns, ihn ein einziges Mal in Aktion zu sehen.

  • Greifswalder Forscher dringen mit superauflösendem Mikroskop in zellulären Mikrokosmos ein

    Die Professoren Nicole und Karlhans Endlich am neuen Superresolution-Mikroskop. Foto: Kilian Dorner

    Das Institut für Anatomie und Zellbiologie weiht am Montag, 05.12.2016, mit einem wissenschaftlichen Symposium das erste Superresolution-Mikroskop in Greifswald ein. Das Forschungsmikroskop wurde von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) und dem Land Mecklenburg-Vorpommern finanziert. Nun können die Greifswalder Wissenschaftler Strukturen bis zu einer Größe von einigen Millionstel Millimetern mittels Laserlicht sichtbar machen.

  • How cells take out the trash: the “phospho-kiss of death” deciphered

    Phosphoarginine functions as a protein degradation tag in Gram-positive bacteria IMP

    Cells never forget to take out the trash. It has long been known that cells tag proteins for degradation by labelling them with ubiquitin, a signal described as “the molecular kiss of death”. In the current issue of Nature, Tim Clausen’s group at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna identifies an analogous system in gram-positive bacteria, where the role of a degradation tag is fulfilled by a little known post-translational modification: arginine phosphorylation. The discovery opens new avenues for designing antibacterial therapies.

  • How Does Friendly Fire Happen in the Pancreas?

    Treatment with an antagomir directed against miR92a results in reduced attacks of immune cells (green) on the insulin (white) producing beta cells directly in the pancreas. Moreover, the treatment leads to more regulatory T cells (red) able to protect the beta cells. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    In type 1 diabetes, the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells. Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Diabetes Research, and their colleagues at Technical University of Munich have now reported in the journal ‘PNAS’ about a mechanism used by the immune system to prepare for this attack. They were able to inhibit this process through targeted intervention and are now hoping this will lead to new possibilities for treatment.

  • Molekulare Kamera macht Substanzen in Zellen sichtbar

    Rädertierchen frisst Pantoffeltierchen: Die Abbildungen a, c, e und g zeigen jeweils drei verschiedene Substanzen (in rot, grün bzw. blau), die in den vier Pantoffeltierchen vorgefunden wurden. Abbildung: Kompauer et al., Nature Methods

    Neues Massenspektrometer an der Universität Gießen ermöglicht vielfältige Forschungen in den Lebenswissenschaften – Veröffentlichung in „Nature Methods“. Eine weltweit einzigartige an der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (JLU) entwickelte Untersuchungsmethode vereint die Vorteile von Mikroskop und Massenspektrometer: Mit dem neuen Gerät, das die Arbeitsgruppe des Chemikers Prof. Dr. Bernhard Spengler in der aktuellen Ausgabe von „Nature Methods“ vorstellt, lassen sich unzählige Stoffe dank Massenspektrometrie in biologischem Gewebe nachweisen und in ihrem chemischen Aufbau entschlüsseln.

  • Multiple Sklerose: Neu entdeckter Signalmechanismus macht T-Zellen pathogen

    Die dendritische Zelle und die T-Zelle bei der Clusterbildung (rechts im Bild); Prof. Dr. Thomas Korn (Technische Universität München)

    Folgenschwere Instruktionen: T-Zellen sind ein wichtiger Teil des Immunsystems. Sie können aber nicht nur Krankheitserreger ausschalten, sondern auch selbst zu einer Gefahr werden. Forscherinnen und Forscher der Technischen Universität München (TUM) und der Universitätsmedizin Mainz haben herausgefunden, wann bestimmte T-Zellen zu krankheitserregenden T-Zellen werden, die mit Multipler Sklerose in Verbindung gebracht werden. Die Ergebnisse erklären, warum bestimmte Behandlungsansätze nicht zuverlässig wirken. Sie sind in der aktuellen Ausgabe von „nature immunology“ veröffentlicht.

  • New chemistry of life

    Lung tissue during legionellosis.

    FRANKFURT. The attachment of ubiquitin was long considered as giving the „kiss of death“, labelling superfluous proteins for disposal within a cell. However, by now it has been well established that ubiquitin fulfils numerous additional duties in cellular signal transduction. A team of scientists under the lead of Ivan Dikic, Director of the Institute of Biochemistry II at Goethe University Frankfurt, has now discovered a novel mechanism of ubiquitination, by which Legionella bacteria can seize control over their host cells. Legionella causes deadly pneumonia in immunocompromised patients. A novel ubiquitination mechanism explains pathogenic effects of Legionella infection. First results hint towards a broader role in regulating many life processes.

  • New procedure for producing safe and more effective vaccines

    Foto Fraunhofer FEP

    A consortium of four Fraunhofer Institutes (the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI, Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB) is developing a way of inactivating viruses and other pathogens based on low energy electron irradiation. This may aid the manufacture of more effective, safe and also more cost-effective vaccines.

  • New Regulator of Immune Reaction Discovered

    Raster electron microscope image of human T lymphocytes. Andrea Hellwig (neurobiology)

    Calcium signal in cell nucleus regulates not only many brain functions but also defence reactions of the immune system. Cells of the immune system can distinguish between protein molecules that are "self" and "non-self". For example, if we are exposed to pathogens such as bacteria or viruses that carry foreign molecules on their surface, the body reacts with an immune response. In contrast, cells are "tolerant" of the body's own molecules. This state of unresponsiveness, or anergy, is regulated by a cellular signal, a calcium-controlled switch that was known to control also many brain functions.

  • New treatment approach for leukemia renders cancer genes powerless

    Microscopic view of blast crisis of chronic myelogenous leukemia. © Public Health Image Library

    Cancer researcher from Mainz develops targeted epigenetic approach for the treatment of aggressive forms of leukemia

  • New weapon against Diabetes

    Diagram of a HEK-beta cell. Graphics: ETH Zurich

    ETH Researchers have used the simplest approach yet to produce artificial beta cells from human kidney cells. Like their natural model, the artificial cells act as both sugar sensors and insulin producers. Researchers led by ETH Professor Martin Fussenegger at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel have produced artificial beta cells using a straightforward engineering approach. The artificial beta cells can do everything that natural ones do: they measure the glucose concentration in the blood and produce enough insulin to effectively lower the blood sugar level. The ETH researchers presented their development in the latest edition of the journal Science.

  • Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod

    Dr. Christina J. Groß (links) and Dr. Ritu Mishra.

    Imiquimod is a medication successfully used in the treatment of skin diseases. In addition to its known mechanism of action, it also triggers other processes in the body. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have succeeded in explaining the molecular fundamentals of these additional effects. The results also shine a new light on other known molecular processes which could indicate an approach to the treatment of inflammatory illnesses.

  • Peptides as tags in fluorescence microscopy

    Synapses of brain cells made visible using fluorescence tagging based on antibodies: pre-synapses (red) and post-synapses (green) appear out of focus; the synaptic cleft is not fully resolved. (Picture: Franziska Neubert & Sören Doose)

    Advance in biomedical imaging: The Biocenter of the University of Würzburg in close collaboration with the University of Copenhagen has developed an alternative approach to fluorescent tagging of proteins. The new probes are practicable and compatible with high-resolution microscopic procedures. Fluorescence microscopy visualizes the molecular elements of cells. Proteins of nerve cells, for instance, can be labelled using probes which are subsequently excited with light to fluoresce. In the end, the fluorescence signal is used to generate microscopic images of the real position, arrangement and number of proteins.

  • Research against antibiotic resistance

    The paper disks have different antibiotics: Antibiotics in the discs in the culture on the left prevent bacteria from proliferating. Bacteria in the culture on the right are resistant to most of the antibiotics.

    The Swiss National Science Foundation is launching the National Research Programme “Antimicrobial Resistance”, which aims to develop new solutions to ensure that antibiotics remain effective. Worldwide, more and more pathogens are becoming resistant to today’s antibiotics. The aim of European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November 2016 is to highlight the fact that medicines are losing their effectiveness as a result and that once easy-to-treat infections are turning into deadly diseases. To counteract this development, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is launching the National Research Programme “Antimicrobial Resistance” (NRP 72).