The enzyme CDK8 and its paralog CDK19 are essential modules of the Mediator, a large protein complex that coordinates several key steps in transcription. CDK8 and CDK19 are highly similar and were thought to be functionally redundant. The group of Pavel Kovarik now discovered that CDK8/CDK19 are actually mechanistically distinct and activate different sets of genes in the interferon-induced anti-viral response. The results revise our understanding of anti-viral immunity and could help develop novel therapies of immune disorders. The findings are published in Molecular Cell.
Sebastian Falk has joined the Max Perutz Labs as group leader in March 2019. He is interested in the mechanisms of gene silencing and the regulation of gene expression by small RNAs. A biochemist and structural biologist by training, he received his PhD from Heidelberg University, where he worked on the targeting of membrane proteins. During his Postdoc at the MPI of Biochemistry in Munich he studied eukaroyotic RNA degradation.
Transposable elements (TEs) are parasitic DNA sequences that can jump within the host genome and disrupt its normal function. To preserve genome integrity, eukaryotic cells are in an arms race to fight TEs. The main weapon in their arsenal are small RNAs, that silence the transcription of TEs. Paradoxically, to identify and ultimately eliminate TEs, precursors of small RNAs must be transcribed from TEs. Scientists led by Josef Loidl from the Max Perutz Labs now show details of how the organism Tetrahymena thermophilia manages to effectively eliminate TEs from their active genome. The findings are published in the journal “Current Biology”.
Europe’s largest conference on crystallography starts on 18 August in Vienna and offers a varied programme for the general public: Be it for the development of new drugs, research into earthquakes or the analysis of paintings: Crystallography plays an important role in many disciplines, even in those where you might not expect it. The conference with about 1,000 participants aims at presenting the latest developments in this field. It starts on Sunday, 18 August, and is jointly organised by the Technical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna. In addition to the academic programme which features renowned participants, the conference offers a diverse range of events for all those who would like to learn more about crystallography: public lectures, a science slam as well as the presentation of the world’s largest crystal model as part of an exhibition in the Arcaded Courtyard of the University of Vienna.
DNA double strand breaks (DSB) are an essential feature during meiosis, a cell division process found in all sexually reproducing organisms. Repair of these breaks mediates exchange of genetic information between parental genomes. Errors during this process can cause genome instability. The lab of Peter Schlögelhofer has discovered that the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) DNA repair mechanism plays an important role in repairing ribosomal DNA during meiosis. The findings are published in the current issue of The Plant Cell.
Professor Hans Tuppy, born in 1924, started his studies in Chemistry at a time when Europe was struck by World War II. The war took both his father and brother. After graduation in 1945, his career brought him to Cambridge where he worked in the world-famous lab of Fred Sanger on the sequencing of insulin. His next career step was the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, from where he returned to the University of Vienna. Later in his career, he shaped Austria’s scientific landscape as Minister of Science and as Rector of the University of Vienna among many other positions. Today, at the age of 95, he still comes to work in his office at the Max Perutz Labs.
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.