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.
Infections by human fungal pathogens cause about 1.5 million deaths each year – interfering with iron utilization in the fungus promises new therapeutic approaches.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a fundamentally important medical phenomenon that undermines anticancer and anti-infective therapy of cancer or infectious diseases. Researchers of the Max Perutz Labs, a joint venture by the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna, have delineated the molecular mechanism, whereby the human ABCG2 drug transporter drives MDR. The results suggest new therapeutic strategies to prevent MDR by inhibiting the ABCG2 transporter.
Mitosis is the process by which the genetic information encoded on chromosomes is equally distributed to two daughter cells, a fundamental feature of all life on earth. Scientists led by Alexander Dammermann at the Max Perutz Labs, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, now examine how centrioles contribute to this process. The findings, published in “Developmental Cell”, help to elucidate the function of these tiny cellular structures in mitosis.
Everyone owning a house knows it: to stay like new it needs cleaning and mending. Similarly cellsconstantly renovate and get rid of unwanted material in a process called autophagy in order to replace itwith new parts. This ensures that the organism stays healthy over the years. Like a house renovation, different contractors are employed with repairs and getting rid of waste, and perfect communication is required between them. An international team of scientists from Berlin and Berkeley led by Sascha Martens from the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, a joint venture University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna now describe how this communication between two important factors takes place and thus ensures that autophagy correctly works in the cell.
Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) lead to atherosclerosis and heart failure and are prevalent age-related illnesses in humans. In a new study, published in the renowned journal JCI, scientists from Roland Foisner’s group at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, together with scientists from the Ludwig Boltzmann Cluster for Cardiovascular Research at the Center for Biomedical Research, Medical University of Vienna and from the BOKU, Vienna describe the molecular mechanism behind CVD in the premature aging disease Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS).
The University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna are extending their successful collaborationwith Max F. Perutz Laboratories. Rectors Heinz W. Engl from the University of Vienna and Markus Müller from MedUni Vienna signed an agreement to extend the Joint Venture until 2025.
The cell nucleus is a fascinating organelle, in which an organism’s DNA is protected, decoded and duplicated. The nucleus is surrounded by not one, but two membrane sheets: the outer and the inner nuclear membrane. These two membranes connect with each other at membrane openings occupied by nuclear pores. The outer nuclear membrane also connects to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), an extended membrane network in the cytoplasm.
Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) give rise to blood and immune cells of the body, and are therefore essential for our survival. They are in a dormant state, but whenever new blood needs to be formed, such as after blood loss or chemotherapy, they are rapidly activated to compensate for the loss. After completing their mission, they need to go back to their dormant state. The group of Manuela Baccarini at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, has now shown how intracellular signalling can safeguard this delicate balance between activation and dormancy. Their results are published in the prominent journal Cell Stem Cell.
Thomas Juffmann is awarded a renowned ERC Starting Grant of the European Research Council, which funds ground-breaking basic research. The funding of €1.5 million enables Juffmann to develop new microscopy methods at the interface of physics and biology. Dr. Juffmann, a member of the University Physics department, will now establish his research group at MFPL to foster interdisciplinarity and innovative collaborations.
Multidrug resistance of microbes poses a serious global threat to human health. Such resistant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae significantly reduce therapeutic options for the treatment of Klebsiella-induced, potentially fatal pneumonia or sepsis. Pavel Kovarik and his team at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL), a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, together with colleagues at Queen’s University Belfast now report new insights into how immune cells communicate at the site of infection and join forces in the fight against Klebsiella infections. Their results, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, might be used for the development of alternatives to ineffective anti-microbial drugs
Behavior experiments are useful tools to study brain function. Standard experiments to investigate behavior in popular lab animals such as fish, flies or mice however only incompletely mimic natural conditions. The understanding of behavior and brain function is thus limited. Virtual Reality (VR) helps in generating a more natural experimental environment but requires immobilization of the animal, disrupting sensorimotor experience and causing altered neuronal and behavioral responses. Researchers at the University of Freiburg, and the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL), a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, in collaboration with groups at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) and the MPI for Ornithology in Konstanz, have now developed a VR system for freely moving animals – FreemoVR - to overcome most of these limitations.