Reconstruction of the main structures forming the liver lobule: Central (CV) and Portal veins (PV), sinusoidal (magenta) and bile canaliculi (green) networks, and hepatocytes (random colours). Morales-Navarrete et al. / MPI-CBG

First and new realistic 3D model of the liver lobule since the year 1949: In 1949, Hans Elias pioneered the structural analysis of the mammalian liver tissue and proposed a model of the liver lobule, which is used to this day in textbooks. Almost 70 years later, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, the MPI for the Physics of Complex Systems, & the TU Dresden took advantage of novel microscopy developments, computer-aided image analysis, & 3D tissue reconstruction and created a new realistic 3D model of liver organization. Remarkably, they discovered that the liver features an organized structure, similar to liquid crystals.

The image portrays which G-proteins bind to particular G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and in turn how these are related to signalling events. © Thomas Splettstoesser (www.sci-style.com)

Researchers from Heidelberg University and Sendai University in Japan used new biotechnological methods to study how human cells react to and further process external signals. They focussed on the interaction between so-called G-proteins – the “mediators” of signal transmission – and the receptors known as GPCRs, which trigger signal processes.

Prof. Oliver Lieleg uses models to visualize how nanoparticles are bound together by DNA fragments. Such connections may become the basis of drugs that release their active ingredients in sequence. Uli Benz / TUM

A drug with three active ingredients that are released in sequence at specific times: Thanks to the work of a team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), what was once a pharmacologist's dream is now much closer to reality. With a combination of hydrogels and artificial DNA, nanoparticles can be released in sequence under conditions similar to those in the human body.

Content of Lewy bodies: The inclusions in the neurons contain mainly a membranous medley instead of the anticipated protein fibrils. University of Basel, Biozentrum

An international team of researchers involving members of the University of Basel’s Biozentrum challenges the conventional understanding of the cause of Parkinson’s disease. The researchers have shown that the inclusions in the brain’s neurons, characteristic of Parkinson‘s disease, are comprised of a membranous medley rather than protein fibrils. The recently published study in “Nature Neuroscience” raises new questions about the etiology of Parkinson’s disease.