The Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s Initiative (ASAP) has awarded a grant to Sascha Martens’ group and scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, Monash University and MPI for Biophysics in Frankfurt. The project is coordinated by James Hurley from the University of California Berkeley. The project is endowed with USD 7.000.000 and will reveal the mechanisms of mitophagy and its involvement in Parkinson’s Disease.
Autophagy, from the Greek for ‘self-eating’, is an essential process that isolates and recycles cellular components under conditions of stress or when resources are limited. Cargoes such as misfolded proteins or damaged organelles are captured in a double membrane-bound compartment called the autophagosome and targeted for degradation. A fundamental question concerns precisely how these “garbage bags” form in the cell. Scientists led by Sascha Martens from the Max Perutz Labs, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, have now reconstructed the first steps in the formation of autophagosomes. They show that tiny vesicles loaded with the protein Atg9 act as the seed from which the autophagosome emerges. The study is published in Science.
The group of Kristina Djinovic-Carugo has revealed the molecular structure of a calcium-regulated form of the protein α-actinin, and has elucidated the mechanism of how calcium binds and regulates it. In α-actinin from the parasite E. histolytica, calcium binding triggers an increase in protein rigidity, which impairs its ability to bundle actin filaments. The study is published in PNAS and could help understand calcium regulation in human forms of α-actinin. The mechanism may also provide guidance for the development of novel therapeutics to treat amoebic dysentery caused by E. histolytica that threatens millions of people in developing countries every year.
Scientists led by Javier Martinez from the Max Perutz Labs, a joint venture of the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna, have identified a unique chemical reaction at the end of RNA molecules for the first time in human cells. This reaction was previously only observed in bacteria and viruses. Tracing its source among thousands of proteins, they discovered that an unexpected culprit, an enzyme called ANGEL2, executes this reaction. ANGEL2 may play a key role in regulating the response to cellular stress, and possibly in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases. The study is published in “Science”.
The EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization) membership honours distinguished scientists who have made outstanding contributions in the field of the life sciences. Members can actively participate in EMBO’s initiatives by serving on the organisation's Council, committees and editorial boards, participating in the evaluation of applications for funding, and by acting as mentors for young scientists.
Konstantina Georgiou, Sara Scinicariello, and Ameya Rakesh Khandekar have been awarded DOC fellowships by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) that will support their PhD projects, which focus on genome organization, protein degradation, and RNA biology respectively.
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.