Birthdays should be celebrated, even in challenging times. Last year marked the inaugural celebration of the birthday of Max Perutz, the man who gave the Perutz Labs its name. Unfortunately, preparations for this year´s Max Perutz Day on May 19th were put on ice due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, we did not want this day to pass without celebrating a “virtual Max Perutz Day 2020” online with an outstanding keynote speaker: Jan Löwe, director of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge. Jan shared his personal memories of Max Perutz and talked about his own research in the field of structural biology.
Scientists from Sascha Martens Lab at the Max Perutz Labs and their colleagues from the University of Berkeley (USA) have reconstituted the activity of key proteins involved in the growth of autophagosome precursors, a process essential for encapsulating cellular components targeted for degradation and recycling. Their results reveal a previously unknown positive feedback loop and activation mechanism that help explain how the autophagy machinery rapidly generates the autophagosomal membrane. The study is published in the Journal of Cell Biology.
On March, 21st, 2020, Alwin Köhler was announced as the new Director of the Max Perutz Labs Vienna. He holds a joint Professorship for Molecular Biology at the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses an enormous threat for healthcare systems and economies in Austria, Europe and the world. In this time of crisis, scientists in Vienna are responding to the threat. 20 research institutions have joined forces to form the Vienna COVID-19 Diagnostics Initiative (VCDI). This initiative is now putting a new diagnostics pipeline into operation. The VCDI is also developing a range of high-throughput tests to better understand and combat the virus.
A marvel of complexity, the nucleus is the command center of the cell – harboring information, codes and controlled access. But different from man-made command centers, the nuclear interior looks chaotic to the eye of a scientist. Chromosomes, the carriers of genetic information, float amidst a sea of water, proteins, nucleic acids and other molecules, all engaged in a myriad of simultaneous reactions. These reactions have one major goal: to turn genes on and off at the right time and place. This process is called gene regulation and makes a brain cell look and act different from a muscle cell or a liver cell.
Frameshifts occur when the reading frame in which genetic information is translated is perturbed. Textbook knowledge considers frameshifts to be dangerous as they typically result in altered protein sequences, which are frequently also truncated. Recent research from the lab of Bojan Zagrovic shows that even though frameshifts change the protein sequence, several of its important physicochemical properties stay the same. The results point to a possible new role for frameshifts: They may be a conserved strategy for evolution to create novel protein sequences with already optimized physicochemical properties.
The Max Perutz Labs are embedded in the Vienna Biocenter, providing access to outstanding core facilities shared by all members of the campus in addition to facilities unique to our institute.
With a strong molecular focus and a diversity of model organisms, we aim to bridge basic research with biomedicine.
Cells communicate at every level and molecular misunderstandings must be avoided.
Cracking the genetic code and understanding how it can be corrupted.
Making sense of big data to drive hypothesis-based research.
Visualising the biochemistry of macromolecules in health and disease.
To honour an extraordinary teacher and scientist, the Max Perutz Labs were named after Max Ferdinand Perutz, who, together with John C. Kendrew, was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies on the structure of globular proteins ...
The Max Perutz Labs seek to educate students to think critically and analytically, challenge them to set ambitious goals, and instill in them both broad horizons and deep understanding. In doing so, we aspire to furnish them with the necessary knowledge and skills to push forward the frontiers of 21st century biomedical science.