2007

Unique "near-field" microscopy at the MPI of Biochemistry (Martinsried near Munich) allowed, for the first time, viewing on the nanoscale the spontaneous appearance and growth of metallic puddles that mark the transition from an electrically insulating material ino an electrically conducting one. more

Elena Conti is one of the eleven awardees of Germany's most prestigious research award, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. more

Axel Ullrich, Director of the research department of Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, receives the Karl Heinz Beckurts Prize for his trend-setting, scientific work which has led to the development and approval of latest cancer drugs. more

A collaboration of scientists from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry, Martinsried near Munich, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, have succeeded in clarifying the central structure of the chromosomal passenger complex. more

For the first time, cell infections can be studied “live“ by the use of cryo-electron tomography. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry apply this technique to attain true-to-life three-dimensional images of a pox-virus infection and publish studies detailing the structure and motion of the malaria-causing Plasmodium in unrivaled detail. Both studies show that this new method can be used for medical purposes (’’Journal of Experimental Medicine’’ June 2007, ’’Public Library of Science One,’’ May 2007). more

Scientists from the Department of Cellular Biochemistry (F.-U. Hartl) describe the role of RbcX as an assembly chaperone of ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), the enzyme responsible for the fixation of atmospheric carbon dioxide. In cyanobacteria and plants, Rubisco is an ~520 kDa complex composed of eight large subunits (RbcL) and eight small subunits ((RbcS). more

Cell membranes are like two-dimensional fluids whose molecules are distributed evenly through lateral diffusion. But many important cellular processes depend on cortical polarity, the locally elevated concentration of specific membrane proteins. Dr. Roland Wedlich-Soldner at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School, Boston, The Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, now analyzed and quantified how cortical polarity develops and how an asymmetric distribution of molecules can be dynamically maintained. In their study they combined experiments on living cells with a mathematical model to show among other things that polarized regions in membranes are defined with nearly optimal precision. This novel approach is an important step towards a spatially and temporally quantifiable model of the cell. (Cell, April 19, 2007) more

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