Press releases - News from the MPI of Biochemistry

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Julia von Blume awarded “Heisenberg” and “Plus 3” grant

November 17, 2016
Julia von Blume has been named as the recipient of the Heisenberg grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG), for the duration of five years. She has also been given funding of € 900,000 as part of the Plus 3 Perspective Programme of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. These highly coveted programmes provide outstanding researchers with support on their career path to becoming professors. [more]
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Stefan Jentsch, 1955-2016

November 02, 2016
The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) mourns the loss of Departmental Director Stefan Jentsch, who unexpectedly died on 29 October. He received many awards for his fundamental contributions to our understanding of cellular regulation by the protein ubiquitin, including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Council (DFG). “We have not only lost an outstanding scientist, but also a wonderful colleague“, says Petra Schwille, Managing Director at the MPIB. “Stefan’s untimely death leaves a void at the Institute as well as in the scientific community“. [more]
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DNA Replication – Take a break

October 05, 2016
Before a cell divides, it must first handle a large-scale project: Its entire genetic material has to be duplicated so that each of the two daughter cells is equipped with a full copy after cell division. As errors in this DNA replication could lead to the death of the cell, the process is rigorously controlled. It takes place in two phases. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried have now revealed in the journal Cell Reports that these two phases are strictly separated from one another by breaks, thereby preventing errors in the DNA replication. [more]
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The master tailor of cells

October 04, 2016
The so-called Holliday structure has nothing to do with holidays or vacation, but is rather a term that describes a complex crossover of similar DNA strings. Researcher Robin Holliday proposed this structure of genetic information in the 1960s. It occurs in DNA repair processes in our cells or during the formation of egg and sperm cells when paternal and maternal genetic information are combined. As reported by the journal eLife, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried have decoded the structure of the GEN1 protein that can undo this crossover, much like a molecular master tailor, by cutting the DNA with the highest precision in the correct place. [more]
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The bacteria Halomonas and the RMS Titanic

September 08, 2016
The rust-producing Halomonas species could bring about the total deterioration of the sunken RMS Titanic by 2030. How the halotolerant bacteria survive in their extreme environment was examined by Dieter Oesterhelt, Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich, together with scientist of the Institut Laue-Langevin and the Institut de Biolgie Structurale in Grenoble, France as well as the biotech company Bitop. Halomonas microorganisms accumulate high concentrations of the molecule ectoine, within their cells, to counterbalance fluctuating external salt concentrations. For this analysis, a range of specialised neutron scattering experiments were designed. The scientist revealed that within the microbe cells, ectoine acts by enhancing the properties of water that are essential to life processes. Ectoine itself, displays an indirect stabilising effect on proteins and membranes within the cells. [more]
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Ernst Schering Prize for F.-Ulrich Hartl

September 06, 2016
The Ernst Schering Foundation has honored cell biologist F.-Ulrich Hartl, director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich, for his outstanding research on the role of chaperones in protein folding in living cells. The 50,000-euro Ernst Schering Prize is one of the most prestigious German science prizes. Professor Sies, who will give the presentation speech at the award ceremony, comments: “Franz-Ulrich Hartl’s outstanding research deserves the highest recognition. It combines fundamental new insights into the homeostasis of correctly folded proteins with new perspectives on the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases, which may lead to innovative therapeutic approaches.” The celebratory award ceremony will take place on September 26, 2016, in Berlin. Just few weeks ago it was also announced that Hartl will receive, together with Arthur L. Horwich and Susan L. Lindquist, this years’ Albany Medical Center Prize, one of America’s most distinguished Prizes in Medicine. [more]
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New molecule in gear box of cells

September 05, 2016
Tissue are composed of cells and their surrounding extracellular matrix. During embryonic development, wound healing and cancer metastasis, cells move within tissues. How they do it, is a highly relevant scientific and medical question. Now, researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried found a new molecule that regulates the speed of cell migration. Kank2, the newly discovered protein, diminishes the force transmission between cells and extracellular matrix. Thereby the cells find less grip on the ground and move slower. [more]
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