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 Medical University of Vienna has nominated Selma Osmanagic-Myers as Researcher of the Month March 2020 for her paper „Endothelial progerin expression causes cardiovascular pathology through an impaired mechanoresponse”. In this work, published in 2018 in the renowned journal “JCI”, she showed that endothelial cells of progeria patients fail to cope with the mechanic stress caused by bloodflow. This activates signaling mechanisms that lead to cardiovascular diseases. Selma studied biochemistry in Vienna and later joined the lab of Roland Foisner at the Max Perutz Labs as a Postdoc. She just recently moved to the Center of Pathobiochemistry and Genetics at the Medical University where she will continue her work on the impact of aging on endothelial cells, especially in the premature aging disease Hutchison Gilford Progeria.
Protein Phosphatase 2 (PP2A) is an enzyme that plays important roles in regulating cell proliferation and by that has been shown to be a tumor suppressor. Inactivation of PP2A has been observed in many diseases including cancer. Egon Ogris and his team have now found out that the prevailing model of PP2A inactivation by phosphorylation needs to be revised. Notably, decades of research on the tumor suppressive function of PP2A were based on antibodies that - as it turns out now - do not recognize phosphorylation but are rather blocked by a completely different post-translational modification.
The Weintraub Student Award is one of the most prestigious and competitive international student awards recognizing “outstanding achievement during graduate studies in biological sciences”. Anete Romanauska, PhD student in Alwin Köhler’s lab, has been selected as one of twelve students from around the globe in 2020. The award is sponsored by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
The Austrian Academy of Sciences has awarded DOC Fellowships for highly qualified doctoral candidates to students Christina Manakanatas from the lab of Roland Foisner and Laura Santini from Martin Leeb’s group. The fellowship will fund their projects in the fields of stem cell research and the mechanism of the premature ageing disease Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS).
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.