Press releases - News from the MPI of Biochemistry

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Brenda Schulman receives the Leibniz Prize 2019

December 06, 2018
Brenda Schulman, head of the department „Molecular Machines and Signaling“ at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried receives the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2019. It comes with a funding of 2.5 million Euros. The Leibniz Prize honors her important work on the molecular mechanisms of the Ubiquitin System. „I am extremely honored to receive this award and I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the DFG and the selection committee“, says Schulman. The Leibniz-Prize will be awarded on March 13, 2019 in Berlin. [more]
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Access control for proteins

November 21, 2018
The trans-Golgi network (TGN) is the central hub for the transport of proteins within and out of cells. As protein transport is essential for cell biology, the cell closely regulates which proteins are packaged and transported in vesicles. However, the process by which non-signal-carrying proteins are packaged is still poorly understood. A new study carried out by the Research Group led by Julia von Blume at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried in collaboration with Christopher Burd’s Research Group at Yale University has now shown that the sorting of proteins into vesicles and lipid synthesis at the TGN are molecularly coupled. The study was published in Developmental Cell. [more]
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F.-Ulrich Hartl inducted into Hall of Fame of German Research

November 02, 2018
F.-Ulrich Hartl, director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, was inducted into the Hall of Fame of German Research. The award, which was introduced by the Manager Magazin in 2009, honors Hartl as a pioneer in the field of cellular biochemistry. Together with colleagues in the USA, Hartl demonstrated that newly produced proteins do not fold spontaneously but require the assistance by folding helpers, so called chaperones. This finding refuted the central dogma that proteins in cells can fold spontaneously, just as they do in the test tube. Hartl’s research shows that misfolded proteins contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and are associated with malfunction of chaperones.   [more]
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Disorder in the liver

October 22, 2018
Chronic excessive caloric intake leads to the deposition of fat droplets in the liver. This condition, known as fatty liver, can cause permanent damage to the organ. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) in Martinsried have now investigated the effects of this fat overflow on liver proteins. They showed that fatty liver is associated with changes in the location and activity of numerous cellular proteins. The study, which was published in the journal Developmental Cell, shows the effect of lipid deposition on fundamental cellular processes in the liver. [more]
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Working the switches for axon branching

September 24, 2018
Our brain is a complex network with innumerable connections between cells. Neuronal cells have long thin extensions, so-called axons, which are branched to increase the number of interactions. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have collaborated with researchers from Portugal and France to study cellular branching processes. They demonstrated a novel mechanism that induces branching of microtubules, an intracellular support system. The newly discovered dynamics of microtubules has a key role in neuronal development. The results were recently published in the journal Nature Cell Biology. [more]
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CT45 – A key to long-term survival in ovarian cancer

September 20, 2018
The diagnosis of ovarian cancer is still comparable to a death sentence. Only one in six patients survives more than 10 years after diagnosis. In a new study, an international research team from Germany, the USA, and Denmark, identified a molecular mechanism that is linked to patient long-term survival for those roughly 20% of the patients. By proteomic analysis, the protein CT45 was identified as a novel prognostic cancer cell marker. The authors further showed that the protein itself increases cancer cell death after platinum chemotherapy and activates the patient’s immune system. This work will be published in the renowned scientific journal Cell. [more]
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Zika virus proteins inhibit brain development

September 04, 2018
In healthy individuals, the Zika virus causes flu-like symptoms. If a pregnant woman becomes infected, the unborn child can suffer from severe brain abnormalities as a result of mechanisms that have not yet been explained. A study by the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) shows that Zika virus proteins bind to cellular proteins that are required for neural development. [more]
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