Biochemistry

Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. By controlling information flow through biochemical signaling and the flow of chemical energy through metabolism, biochemical processes give rise to the complexity of life.

  • A CLOUD of possibilities: Finding new therapies by combining drugs

    Immunofluorescence analysis of prostate cancer cells treated with 15mM flutamide, 35 µM PPC or the combination for 24 h. Scale Bar 20 µM  © Nature Chemical Biology / Stefan Kubicek

    The CeMM Library of Unique Drugs (CLOUD) is the first condensed set of FDA-approved drugs representing the entire target and chemical space of all clinical compounds. Its potential was shown in a combinatorial high throughput screen at the CeMM chemical screening platform, published in Nature Chemical Biology: by testing all CLOUD compounds in combination with each other, a pair of hitherto unrelated drugs proved to be highly effective against multiple prostate cancer cell lines known for their resistance to therapy. Testing CLOUD combinations in this highly automated procedure could pave the way for a new era of drug repurposing and provide novel strategies for personalized medicine.

  • Aerobic processes compete for nitrogen in oxygen minimum zones

    Methodically, this was pioneering work: Without highly-sensitive oxygen sensorsit would not have been possible. The developers of the so-called STOX sensors supported Bristow in this study. Laura Tiano

    At the margins of oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) at ultralow oxygen concentrations, aerobic ammonium and nitrite oxidizers compete for nitrogen with anaerobic microorganisms. Thus they play an important but so far overlooked role in controlling nitrogen loss in OMZs.

  • An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

    The mechanical properties of the green lacewing egg stalks are so remarkable that researchers would like to replicate them in technical fibers.  Wikimedia Commons, Karthik R. Bhat

    Innovative biofibers made from a silk protein of the green lacewing are being developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in conjunction with the company AMSilk GmbH. Researchers are working on producing the protein in large quantities by using biotechnology. The aim is to use the material in the future as a high-grade rigid fiber, for example, in lightweight plastics in transportation technology. It can also be conceivably used in medical technology, for example, as a biocompatible silk coating on implants. The Fraunhofer IAP is presenting its initial material sample at the International Green Week Berlin from January 20 to 29, 2017 in Hall 4.2, booth 212.

  • Better Contrast Agents Based on Nanoparticles

    Scientists at the University of Basel have developed nanoparticles which can serve as efficient contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging. This new type of nanoparticles produce around ten times more contrast than common contrast agents and are responsive to specific environments. The journal Chemical Communications has published these results.

  • Biophysik - Den Ring schließen

    Wie Bakterien sich teilen, ist bisher nicht vollständig klar. LMU-Physiker zeigen jetzt, dass sich Proteine bei hoher Dichte von selbst zu Ringen zusammenschließen können. Sie schnüren die Mutterzelle ein und teilen sie so in Tochterzellen.

  • Biosensor measures signaling molecules within cilia

    Scientists of the Research Center caesar in Bonn, an Institute of the Max Planck Society, developed a new biosensor, which allows to measure nanomolar levels of the second messenger cAMP. The sensor makes it possible to study cAMP signaling with high precision, even in subcellular compartments. Using this new biosensor, the scientists of the Minerva Max Planck Research Group “Molecular Physiology“ headed by Dagmar Wachten and of the Department “Molecular Sensory Systems” headed by Benjamin Kaupp revealed how the production of cAMP is regulated in the flagella of sperm cells from mice.

  • Blut-Abbau im Akkord: Zell-Einwanderer schützen vor Eisenvergiftung

    Blut Abbau im Akkord Zell Einwanderer schützen vor Eisenvergiftung | Können Monozyten nicht in die Leber einwandern und sich zu Eisen-verwertenden Zellen entwickeln, lagert sich giftiges Eisen in Organen wie der Niere ab. (Eisen-frei: blau, Eisen-Protein-Komplex:braun) Abbildung: CSB Massachusetts General Hospital

    Freiburger Forscher entschlüsseln, wie der Körper rote Blutkörperchen abbaut, ohne sich dabei selbst zu vergiften. Der neue Ansatz könnte Komplikationen nach Blutvergiftungen und Hämolyse vermindern.

  • Bluttest für Tuberkulose

    Biomarker sollen in Zukunft das Ausbruchsrisiko einer Tuberkulose voraussagen können

  • Bringing artificial enzymes closer to nature

    Representation of the new-to-nature olefin metathesis reaction in E. coli using a ruthenium-based artificial metalloenzyme to produce novel high added-value chemicals.

    Scientists at the University of Basel, ETH Zurich, and NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering have developed an artificial metalloenzyme that catalyses a reaction inside of cells without equivalent in nature. This could be a prime example for creating new non-natural metabolic pathways inside living cells, as reported today in Nature.

  • Call for Abstracts – The Molecular Basis of Life

    GBM Conference "Molecular Basis of Life"

    The international fall conference of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM) will take place from Sunday, September 24th to Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.

    The (German) Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Gesellschaft für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, GBM) is the association of about 5300 scientists working in the field of Molecular Life Sciences. Most members of the GBM are German scientists from universities, industry and other research institutions, covering the entire spectrum of basic and applied Molecular Life Sciences.
    The aim of the GBM is to promote basic and applied research as well as education in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology and molecular medicine.

  • Cancer Detection with Sugar Molecules

    Like a spaceship, the complex sugar molecule (coloured) lands exactly on the tumor protein galectin-1, which here looks like a meteorite and is shown in black and white. Picture: Workgroup Seibel, VCH-Wiley

    Scientists from the University of Würzburg have synthesized a complex sugar molecule which specifically binds to the tumor protein Galectin-1. This could help to recognize tumors at an early stage and to combat them in a targeted manner. Galectins are a family of proteins that have become a promising source of cancer research in recent years. A representative thereof is galectin-1. It sits on the surface of all human cells; on tumor cells, however, it occurs in enormous quantities. This makes it an interesting target for diagnostics and therapy.

  • Cellular “Light Switch” Analysed Using Neutron Scattering

    The internal movements of proteins can be important for their functionality; researchers are discovering more and more examples of this. Now, with the aid of neutron spectroscopy, dynamic processes have also been detected in so-called “LOV photoreceptors” by scientists from Jülich, Aachen, Dusseldorf and Garching near Munich. These proteins are widely distributed throughout nature and are of biotechnological relevance. The results highlight the immense potential of neutron scattering experiments for the analysis of cellular processes. The research has recently been published in “Biophysical Journal” (DOI:10.1016/j.bpj.2016.01.021).

  • Cellular Valve Structure Opens Up Potential Novel Therapies

    Structure of a volume-regulated chloride channel (center: ribbon diagram, right: selectivity filter, left: regions with positively charged amino acids). Raimund Dutzler, UZH

    Biochemists at the University of Zurich have determined the detailed structure of a volume-regulated chloride channel. This cellular valve is activated in response to swelling to prevent the cell from bursting. The protein also plays an important role in the uptake of chemotherapeutics and the release of neurotransmitters after a stroke. The controlled regulation of its activity thus opens up a promising strategy for novel therapies.

  • Chemikalien wirtschaftlich aus Holzabfällen gewinnen

    Vitamine, Medikamente, Lösungsmittel, Pflanzenschutzmittel und Polymere – viele davon liessen sich über den Zwischenschritt der Bernsteinsäure mittels Bakterien in Zukunft auch aus Holzabfällen herstellen. Und zwar mindestens so wirtschaftlich, umweltschonend und sicher wie derzeit aus Erdöl. Dies zeigte ein internationales Forscherteam unter der Leitung von ETH-Wissenschaftlern auf.

  • Closing the Gate to Mitochondria

    Zoom-in of an electrospray capillary (left) transferring proteins into the orifice of a mass spectrometer (right). Using this technology, the scientists analyzed mitochondria with a "gate" closed for proteins (cartoon) at molecular level. Source: Christian D. Peikert

    A team of researchers develops a new method that enables the identification of proteins imported into mitochondria. Eukaryotic cells contain thousands of proteins, which are distributed to different cellular compartments with specific functions. A German-Swiss team of scientists led by Prof. Dr. Bettina Warscheid from the University of Freiburg and Prof. Dr. André Schneider from the University of Bern has developed the method "ImportOmics". This method enables the scientists to determine the localization of proteins that are imported via specific entry "gates" into distinct membrane-bound compartments, so-called organelles. Knowing the exact localization of individual proteins, the route they take to reach their destination, and the overall composition of cellular compartments is important for understanding fundamental mechanisms of cell biology. This is the prerequisite to understand disease mechanisms that rely on defective cellular functions. The scientists present their work in the current issue of the journal "Nature Communications".

  • Die Blitzabwehr der Bakterien: Immunzellen werden direkt beim ersten Kontakt getötet

    Die Blitzabwehr der Bakterien Immunzellen werden direkt beim ersten Kontakt getötet | Die genetische Ausstattung ihres Virulenzplasmids ermöglicht es Bakterien der Gattung Yersinia, die Immunabwehr auszuschalten. HZI/M. Rohde

    Dringen Bakterien in den Körper eines Menschen oder eines Tieres ein, werden sie vom Immunsystem als fremd erkannt. Daraufhin versuchen die Immunzellen, diese Fremdkörper zu beseitigen. Wissenschaftler des Helmholtz-Zentrums für Infektionsforschung (HZI) in Braunschweig haben nun gemeinsam mit Kollegen der Universität Umeå in Schweden herausgefunden, wie es Bakterien der Gattung Yersinia schaffen, Immunzellen direkt beim ersten Kontakt abzutöten: Sie vervielfältigen die genetische Information für ihre krankmachenden Werkzeuge und schießen gleichzeitig Substanzen in die Immunzelle, die sie schnell inaktivieren und umbringen.

  • Die Blüte im Auge

    Was haben Walnussblätter, Champignons und die Blütenblätter des Mädchenauges gemeinsam? Sie enthalten große Mengen an jenen Enzymen, die auch für Bräunungsreaktionen in Bananen oder Äpfeln verantwortlich sind. ChemikerInnen der Uni Wien haben erstmals die Enzymstruktur in den Blütenblättern des Mädchenauges analysiert.

  • Die Geburt des Partikels

    Experiment, bei dem durch langsame Zugabe verschiedener Lösungen die Reaktion gestartet, kontrolliert und untersucht werden kann.

    Ein an der Universität Konstanz entwickeltes Experiment kann den Mechanismus der Partikelbildung ausgehend von gelösten molekularen Bausteinen aufzeigen

  • Die Sprache der Moleküle – Chemische Kommunikation in der Natur

    Auf dem Rundgespräch des Forums Ökologie am Mittwoch, 6. April 2016, stellen Expertinnen und Experten die „chemische Sprache“ vor, mit der Pflanzen, Tiere, Pilze und Bakterien Informationen austauschen.

  • DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

    A complex tag for DNA-repair: 3D cartoon showing the linkage of ADP-ribose to the amino acid serine in a protein (turquoise). Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

    Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins” to the damaged parts within the DNA. To do this, an elaborate protein language has evolved. Now scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing have discovered the way a new letter of this alphabet is used in cells. This novel protein modification, called serine ADP-ribosylation, has been overlooked by scientists for decades. This finding reveals how important discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”. Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”.