Department News

Researchers for protein folding helpers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry have now deciphered the molecular structure of the EL phage chaperonin and discovered special features. more

The biochemist Hartl and the geneticist Horwich are honored with the world’s highest science prize for their groundbreaking discovery of the protein folding, assistans, chaperones. more

F.-Ulrich Hartl, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, and Arthur Horwich of Yale School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute were named winners of the 2019 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research. Selected by an independent committee of world-renowned scientists, Hartl and Horwich won for their revolutionary insights into chaperone-mediated protein folding. Hartl expresses his delight to have been selected as one of the winners of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award. “This is a fantastic honor and recognition of the work of my laboratory”, he says. The award includes a $200,000 prize and will be presented at ceremonies in the USA and Belgium in September. more

F.-Ulrich Hartl, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich, is awarded the Paul Ehrlich- and Ludwig Darmstaedter-Prize 2019 together with Arthur L. Horwich.  of Yale School of Medicine/HHMI.The biochemist Hartl and the geneticist Horwich are honored for their pioneering work in the field of cellular protein chemistry. Their collaboration helped unravel the molecular machinery that assists protein folding. The prize will be awarded on March 14 in the St. Paul‘s Church in Frankfurt and is endowed with 120,000 EUR. more

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

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell. more

F.-Ulrich Hartl, director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, is awarded the E.B. Wilson Medal this year together with Arthur L. Horwich of Yale School of Medicine/HHMI. The award represents the highest honor of the American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB). The biochemist Hartl and the geneticist Horwich are pioneers in the field of cellular protein chemistry. Their collaboration helped unravel the molecular machinery that assists protein folding. Hartl and Horwich challenged the widely held notion put forth by Nobel Prize winner Christian Anfinsen that proteins fold spontaneously in cells, just as they do in test tubes. The prize will be awarded on December 5 on the ASCB/EMBO meeting Philadelphia, USA. Hartl has been a member of ASCB since 2004, Horwich since 1991. more

A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Huntington's disease are deposits of aggregated proteins in the patient's cells that cause damage to cellular functions. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich report that, even in normal cells, aberrant aggregation-prone proteins are continually produced due to partial failure of the respiratory system. Unless they are removed by degradation, aggregates accumulate preferentially in the mitochondria, the cellular power plants, ultimately blocking energy production. In order to get rid of these toxic aggregates, cells have developed an elaborate protein quality control system, which the researchers now describe in the journal Cell. more

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

F.-Ulrich Hartl, director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich, will receive, together with Arthur L. Horwich and Susan L. Lindquist, this year’s Albany Medical Center Prize. The Albany Medical and Research Prize is endowed with $ 500,000 (450,000 €) and is one of America’s most distinguished Prizes in Medicine. The three awardees were honored for their fundamental and complementary discoveries related to the mechanism of protein folding. The prize will be awarded on September 28 in Albany, NY, USA. more

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