2008

Axel Ullrich, Director of the Department of Molecular Biology, was awarded with the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences for his excellent research on malignancy of cancer. more

The multi-tasking talent MaxQuant accomplishes over night what used to take up to half a year to complete: With this software, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry have developed a tool that can identify proteins faster and more accurately than any other technology. more

Columbia University will award this year's Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize to Franz-Ulrich Hartl, M.D., professor and director of the Department of Cellular Biochemistry, on November 25, 2008. Hartl will be honored together with Arthur Horwich, Yale University School of Medicine, for their collaborative work in expanding fundamental understanding of cellular protein folding. more

Terahertz Goes Nano

October 09, 2008

A forthcoming report in Nano Letters describes a breakthrough in modern microscopy: the achievement of extremely high-resolution imaging using light in the Terahertz region. Contrary to textbook wisdom, the unusually long illuminating wavelength of 118 μm did not at all preclude researchers from the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry to resolve details as small as 40 nm. more

Scientists have tried to determine the entirety of proteins (the proteome) in a given organism for more than 30 years. Until recently, technological limits made this impossible. But researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried have now been able to identify a total of 4399 different proteins in baker’s yeast. The scientists furthermore showed how the set of proteins in yeast changed in different cellular states. In another publication, the scientists introduced a method with which proteins regulated by a gene are markedly easier to spot than with the traditional microarray method. (Nature Online, September 29th, 2008 and Molecular Cell, September 5th, 2008). more

The correct protein folding in the cell is necessary, because so they receive their natural threedimensional structure. Only a protein that has the correct form can fulfill its duties in the cell. Chaperones of the cell make sure that proteins get the right threedimensional form or that they do not lose it permanently under pressure. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry have now published important results on the mechanism of protein folding. more

Actin provides cells with stability, mobility and the ability to transport molecular cargo. It is also a key player for muscle contraction and cell division. These diverse functions make it one of the most abundant, most important and therefore most intensively studied proteins. One aspect of these studies is the role of actin in the development of cancer and in many other diseases. Marker molecules aimed at highlighting actin under the microscope have so far suffered from several restrictions. Researchers at the Max Planck Institutes of Biochemistry and Neurobiology in Martinsried, Germany, were now able to develop a novel actin marker from a naturally occurring protein that binds to actin in yeast cells. The researchers successfully introduced the so-called “Lifeact” into various types of cells and tissues without effects on cellular actin functions, making it superior to its competitors. The new marker could for the first time allow basic as well as biomedical research on actin without restrictions. (Nature Methods, June 8, 2008) more

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