IMB-Mainz/news https://www.imb.de/ News en IMB-Mainz/news https://www.imb.de/typo3conf/ext/tt_news/ext_icon.gif https://www.imb.de/ 18 16 News TYPO3 - get.content.right http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Wed, 01 Sep 2021 10:14:58 +0200 Launch of the Centre for Healthy Ageing (CHA) https://www.imb.de//about-imb/news/detail/launch-of-the-centre-for-healthy-ageing-cha For more information click here

PRESS RELEASE

01 September – The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) announces the launch of the Centre for Healthy Ageing (CHA), a virtual research centre that brings together scientists in Mainz to promote healthy ageing and identify novel treatments for age-related diseases.

Ageing is one of the biggest and most urgent challenges facing modern societies today. In Germany alone, over one-fifth of the population is over 65 years old, and the number will further increase as life expectancies around the world continue to rise. The elderly are at higher risk of developing debilitating, incurable illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegeneration, increasing individual suffering and placing a major burden on society.

To address these challenges, Prof. Christof Niehrs (IMB Executive and Scientific Director), Prof. Peter Baumann (Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU)) and Prof. Norbert Pfeiffer (Medical Director of the Mainz University Medical Center) have launched the CHA – a virtual centre to bring together researchers in Mainz that focus on ageing research. The fundamental goal of the CHA is to discover how individuals can age healthily, without developing disease. “We know it is possible to age without disease because of the existence of so-called “super-seniors” – those few lucky elderly individuals who have evaded major age-related chronic diseases into old age and are in the top 1% for health,” says Prof. Niehrs. “But what are the genetic and molecular factors that make these individuals different, and could it be possible to create treatments so that in the future everyone can avoid sickness in old age?” This is the central goal of the CHA – to “promote healthy ageing and to prevent and treat age-related diseases… so that everyone can have a long and healthy life.” Prof. Pfeiffer adds: “Rather than only look at risk factors for age-related diseases, we want to discover factors for healthy ageing, which in return might help us enormously to prevent diseases that we now, once they are there, find very difficult to treat.”

The CHA brings together 39 research groups from four research institutes (IMB, JGU, the University Medical Center (UMC), the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research), and TRON GmbH, all located in Mainz. They range from clinical research groups studying cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease in patients, right down to basic research groups working on the molecular mechanisms of ageing, such as DNA repair, telomeres, epigenetics and protein folding. By bringing them together, the CHA will promote exchange of ideas and the development of novel collaborative endeavours. A major part of the CHA’s research will be the Science of Healthy Ageing Research Programme (SHARP), a joint project between IMB, JGU and UMC that was recently funded by Rhineland-Palatinate’s Ministry of Science and Health.

As Prof. Baumann says, “With the launch of the CHA, we can synergise and accelerate ageing research in Mainz to discover the basis of healthy ageing and develop novel treatments that can prevent age-related diseases. This will in turn help to improve quality of life for ageing societies in Germany and around the world.” ­­­­­


Further details

Further information can be found at https://www.cha-mainz.de/.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de.

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management

Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Fax: +49 (0) 6131 39 21421, Email: press@imb.de

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Wed, 01 Sep 2021 10:14:58 +0200
Engineering new cell functionalities on thin condensates https://www.imb.de//about-imb/news/detail/engineering-new-cell-functionalities-on-thin-condensates For more information click here

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHT

25 August – Researchers at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have developed a method to engineer new functionalities into cells. The results were published today in the journal Cell in the article "Dual film-like organelles enable spatial separation of orthogonal eukaryotic translation".

Numerous processes occur inside living cells, from DNA replication and repair to protein synthesis and recycling. In order to organise this plethora of reactions, they must be separated in three-dimensional space. One way eukaryotic cells do this is by extruding a piece of membrane to form a membrane-enclosed space – an organelle – in which specific functions can take place. Alternatively, the cell can also segregate molecules into distinct areas (so-called membraneless organelles) through phase separation, a phenomenon similar to the separation of vinegar and oil in a salad dressing. Such membraneless organelles have advantages: as they are not separated from the rest of the cell by a membrane barrier, large molecules can get in and out more easily. Membrane-enclosed organelles therefore operate like separate “rooms” in a cell, while membraneless organelles operate like different corners of the same room.

One of the most important processes in the cell is protein synthesis, where the RNA code is translated into a protein code, which contains the blueprint for making proteins. These codes are like the languages of the cell. If an organelle could be engineered and dedicated to translate the RNA code in new ways (i.e. use a different language), the functions of the resulting protein could also be changed, endowing it with unique properties that could be used, for example, to switch its functions on or off, or to allow the protein to be visualised in living cells.

In 2019, Prof. Edward Lemke and his research team succeeded in creating an artificial membraneless organelle that translated the RNA code using a new code, or language, without interfering with RNA translation in the rest of the cell. Now Edward and a student from his lab, Christopher Reinkemeier, have further built on this success by creating film-like organelles that can be used to subdivide cell processes into even smaller spaces. "The biggest gain is that we were able to create extremely small reaction spaces – this way we can have several of them in a cell at the same time," explains Prof. Lemke. "We have converted the large 3D organelles into 2D organelles on a membrane surface, and can even run complicated biochemical reactions in these thin layers." Using these thinner organelles, the same cell can now translate the RNA code into three different languages – thus creating three different proteins – in different "corners of the same room", without the translations interfering with each other. This means that the same protein can now have three different functions, depending on which “corner” it was made in.

This novel method not only allows scientists to engineer proteins with unique functions, but also helps them to better understand how eukaryotic cell functions evolve. "We can find out more about how complicated functions occur in the membrane space, what unique functionalities the membrane has, and what special reaction spaces are created there when you concentrate proteins using 2D phase separation," says Dr Reinkemeier. "Through engineering these film-like organelles, we can also better understand how nature also uses such mechanisms to create proteins with new functions."


Cheryl Li is a Science Writer at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB).

The above image, inspired by Dalí’s works, shows that equipping eukaryotic cell with thin, film-like designer organelles is a powerful way to introduce multiple new functionalities into cells. Image © Sara Mingu.

Further details

Further information can be found at https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(21)00943-0

Edward Lemke is an Adjunct Director at IMB and a Professor of Synthetic Biophysics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Further information about research in the Lemke lab can be found at www.imb.de/lemke

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de

About Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is a globally recognized research-driven university with around 31,500 students. Its main core research areas are in particle and hadron physics, the materials sciences, and translational medicine, while its most outstanding research achievements in the humanities have been attained in the fields of American Studies and Historical Cultural Studies. JGU's academic excellence is reflected in its success in the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments: In 2012, the university's Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter (PRISMA) Cluster of Excellence was approved and the funding of its Materials Science in Mainz (MAINZ) Graduate School of Excellence was extended. Moreover, excellent placings in national and international rankings, as well as numerous other honors and awards, demonstrate just how successful Mainz-based researchers and academics are. Further information at www.uni-mainz.de/eng

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management, Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany. Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Fax: +49 (0) 6131 39 21421, Email: press@imb.de

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Wed, 25 Aug 2021 10:41:36 +0200
Helle Ulrich elected to the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina https://www.imb.de//about-imb/news/detail/helle-ulrich-elected-to-the-german-national-academy-of-sciences-leopoldina For more information click here

PRESS RELEASE­­­

08 July - Professor Helle Ulrich, scientific director of IMB, has been elected as a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. This is one of the highest honours for scientists awarded by a German institution.

The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is a prestigious scholastic society of around 1,600 members that represents the German scientific community internationally. Members are chosen for their outstanding scientific achievements and extraordinary contributions to advancing their field of research. Approximately 50 new members are elected each year from almost all branches of science. Candidates must be nominated by current Academy members, followed by a multi-stage selection process.

As a Leopoldina member, Helle will contribute to the academy’s tasks of reviewing and addressing key issues of significance to society to provide policymakers and the public with science-based evidence. Helle’s research specialises in understanding how cells repair DNA damage caused by genotoxic agents (e.g. UV radiation, mutagenic chemicals) and how they ensure that their genetic material is accurately replicated during cell division. This is extremely important for preventing mutations that could lead to cancer and ageing. Some of her top achievements at IMB include discovering when and where damaged DNA is repaired during replication, deciphering how cells regulate and activate different DNA repair pathways, and developing a new method to map single-strand breaks and other types of DNA damage in a genome-wide manner.


Further details

Helle is a Scientific Director at IMB and a Professor of Biology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Further information about research in Ulrich lab can be found at www.imb.de/research/ulrich.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de.

About Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is a globally recognized research-driven university with around 31,500 students. Its main core research areas are in particle and hadron physics, the materials sciences, and translational medicine, while its most outstanding research achievements in the humanities have been attained in the fields of American Studies and Historical Cultural Studies. JGU's academic excellence is reflected in its success in the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments: In 2012, the university's Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter (PRISMA) Cluster of Excellence was approved and the funding of its Materials Science in Mainz (MAINZ) Graduate School of Excellence was extended. Moreover, excellent placings in national and international rankings, as well as numerous other honors and awards, demonstrate just how successful Mainz-based researchers and academics are. Further information at www.uni-mainz.de/eng

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management

Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Fax: +49 (0) 6131 39 21421, Email: press@imb.de

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Thu, 08 Jul 2021 10:49:42 +0200
Fluorescent timers reveal the secrets of protein degradation https://www.imb.de//about-imb/news/detail/fluorescent-timers-reveal-the-secrets-of-protein-degradation For more information click here

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHT

28 June- The research team of Anton Khmelinskii at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) published a paper this month in Molecular Cell, in which they use a fluorescent timer system to systematically characterise the protein degradation system of yeast cells. In this study, they identify the substrates of most of the protein players in the degradation system and identify a new receptor that is required for substrate recognition. This creates an extremely useful information resource and opens new ways to study protein degradation on a massive scale.

In order to function properly, cells must be able to express all of the correct proteins in the correct amounts. Conversely, any unnecessary or abnormal proteins must be removed, or degraded, to prevent them from impairing cell function, as this can lead to diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.

In eukaryotes, protein degradation is largely performed by a network of enzymes called the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). In this system, proteins that should be degraded are marked with an ubiquitin label by an enzymatic cascade involving ubiquitin-activating (E1), ubiquitin-conjugating (E2), and ubiquitin ligase (E3) enzymes. However, the UPS is vast – humans have more than 600 E3s and yeast about 100 – and the functions of many enzymes in the UPS remain unclear.

In this study, Anton’s group sought to gain a better understanding of the UPS in budding yeast. Key to this was a technique that he had previously developed with tandem fluorescent protein timers (tFTs). This method works by tagging proteins of interest with two fluorescent markers, one red (mCherry) and one green (superfolder GFP). The superfolder GFP tag matures faster than the mCherry tag, such that green fluorescence reflects protein abundance, while the ratio of red:green fluorescence reflects protein stability, or how quickly the protein is degraded. By monitoring the amount of green and red fluorescence, abundance and turnover of any tagged protein can be assessed.

Anton had previously created a library of 4,044 yeast strains in which each protein in the yeast proteome is tagged with a tFT tag. Now with collaborators at the University of Heidelberg, EMBL and Toronto, the team crossed each of these library strains to an array of 132 yeast strains, each with a mutation in a different UPS component. This was a massive effort, involving ∼2.5 million crosses and more than 620,000 UPS mutant-tFT strains. But it created a highly useful resource that allowed them to systematically determine the effect of each UPS component on the abundance and stability of each protein in the proteome.

The result was a trove of data, which Anton and his colleagues used to make discoveries about many different UPS components. One of the most important findings they made was identifying a new receptor in an E3 called the glucose-induced degradation-deficient (GID) complex, which orchestrates protein degradation in response to changes in nutrition. Edwin (the first author of this study) noticed that this new receptor, which they named Gid11, mostly recognised proteins with an N-terminal threonine. When Edwin mutated the N-terminal threonine, the abundance and stability of these proteins was no longer regulated by Gid11. He also showed that Gid11 expression was induced in cells metabolising ethanol, a non-fermentable carbon source, and in response to different stresses. This highlights that Gid11 is a conditionally expressed GID receptor that degrades proteins with an N-terminal threonine.

Overall, this study creates a rich dataset that other researchers can use to explore different functions of the UPS. Moreover, it demonstrates that the tFT assay is a highly useful tool that can open new ways for researchers to explore protein degradation on a large scale. In future, Anton and his lab hope to further characterise the precise N-terminal motifs recognised by Gid11 and identify more GID substrate receptors to gain a more complete understanding of this enigmatic ubiquitin ligase.

Cheryl Li is a Science Writer at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB)


Further details

Further information can be found at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1097276521003233

Anton is a Group Leader at IMB. Further information about research in the Khmelinskii lab can be found at www.imb.de/khmelinskii.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de.

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management

Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Fax: +49 (0) 6131 39 21421, Email: press@imb.de

]]>
Mon, 28 Jun 2021 12:45:03 +0200
Discovery of new proteins that maintain DNA ends https://www.imb.de//about-imb/news/detail/discovery-of-new-proteins-that-maintain-dna-ends For more information click here

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHT

1 June – The teams of Falk Butter and René Ketting at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) published a paper in Nature Communications identifying two new proteins that bind to the ends of chromosomes in the nematode worm C. elegans, a popular model organism for ageing studies.

In eukaryotes, DNA occurs as a long, linear molecule, which is folded and organised into chromosomes. Chromosome ends are particularly susceptible to damage, which can lead to chromosome fusions, breakage and mutations. To prevent this damage, the chromosome ends are protected by repetitive DNA sequences called telomeres. These telomeres are bound by specialised telomere-binding proteins, which help protect the chromosome ends and replenish the telomeres when they become too short. If the telomeres become too short, the chromosomes can be damaged, which can in turn lead to cell death, ageing and disease.

The nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is a versatile model organism commonly used in ageing studies. However, we still do not know all the telomere-binding proteins in C. elegans, making it difficult to study how telomeres are regulated this model. Studying telomere-binding proteins in C. elegans is important because it could give new insights into how telomeres work in different tissues of a whole organism, rather than in individual cells.

In their new study published in Nature Communications, Sabrina Dietz (from the lab of Falk Butter) and Miguel Vasconcelos Almeida (from the lab of René Ketting) set out to find the unknown telomere-binding proteins in C. elegans. They were also assisted by researchers from the lab of Helle Ulrich (IMB). To do this, they incubated chemically labelled telomeric DNA with proteins extracted from C. elegans, in effect using the telomeric DNA as bait to ‘catch’ any proteins that bind to them. By subsequently isolating the labelled telomeric DNA, they could then ‘pull out’ any proteins that had bound to them. This identified two new telomere-binding proteins, which they named TEBP-1 and TEBP-2 for Telomere Binding Protein 1 and 2. To confirm that these were indeed telomere-binding proteins, the researchers labelled TEBP-1 and 2 with a green fluorescent protein (GFP) marker in living C. elegans. Both the fluorescent TEBP-1 and TEBP-2 proteins were located at the telomeres in live cells, strongly indicating that they are bona fide telomere-binding proteins.

Next, the researchers wanted to find out what functions these new proteins might have in telomere regulation. To do this, they created C. elegans mutants with deletions of the genes encoding the TEBP-1 and 2 proteins. Worms without TEBP-2 had shorter telomeres than normal worms, suggesting that TEBP-2 promotes telomere lengthening, while those without TEBP-1 had longer telomeres, suggesting that this protein counteracts telomere lengthening. Interestingly, worms without TEBP-2 also had a reproductive defect and produced fewer and fewer offspring over many generations until they became completely sterile. The authors speculate that this is likely due to a defect in the proliferation of the cells that give rise to eggs and sperm. As Sabrina says, “Without TEBP-2, the telomeres are not replenished and become shorter in each generation. This leaves the chromosomes susceptible to damage, which could cause problems in cell division and result in cell death and sterility over many generations.” Worms without both TEBP-1 and TEBP-2 had an even stronger effect, with sterility occurring in only one generation.

These results shed more light on how cells protect their chromosomes from damage in this popular model organism. The researchers next plan to further investigate how TEBP-1 and 2 control telomere length and how this is linked to fertility, especially in worms without both TEBP-1 and TEBP-2.

Cheryl Li is a Science Writer at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB)

The image above is a cropped, false-colored image taken from the original paper, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Further details

Further information can be found at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-22861-2.  

Falk Butter is a Group Leader at IMB. Further information about research in the Butter lab can be found at www.imb.de/butter.

René Ketting is a Scientific Director at IMB. Further information about research in the Ketting Lab can be found at www.imb.de/ketting.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de.

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management, Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Fax: +49 (0) 6131 39 21421, Email: press@imb.de

]]>
Tue, 01 Jun 2021 10:47:52 +0200
Lukas Stelzl joins IMB as an Associate Group Leader https://www.imb.de//about-imb/news/detail/lukas-stelzl-joins-imb-as-an-associate-group-leader For more information click here

PRESS RELEASE

12 May - The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) is delighted to welcome Lukas Stelzl as an Associate Group Leader. Lukas joins us from the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt, where he worked as a postdoctoral fellow. Lukas’ field of expertise is liquid-liquid phase separation and how this regulates gene expression in development and disease. He is also a junior group leader in the ReALity initiative (Resilience, Adaptation and Longevity). ReALity promotes excellence in research aimed at understanding how molecular and cellular systems react and adapt to existential threats of intrinsic and environmental origins to maintain homeostasis and promote longevity.

Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) is a phenomenon where biomolecules (e.g. proteins or nucleic acids) condense to form droplets within a solution, similar to the demixing of oil and vinegar in a vinaigrette. In cells, this allows biomolecules to be physically separated from the surrounding cytoplasm and condense to form membraneless organelles with specific functions, such as the nucleolus, stress granules and germ granules. LLPS thus helps to organise functions such as gene transcription in time and space and is critical for proper cell function.

LLPS is facilitated by interactions between so-called disordered proteins, which are flexible and have no fixed structure. Many factors can affect the interactions between disordered proteins, such as mutations or posttranslational modifications that modify the structure, hydrophobicity and charge of the protein. Lukas and his lab study how LLPS provides robust gene regulation in development, as well as how posttranslational modifications and mutations in disordered proteins can dysregulate LLPS in ageing and disease. They do this by using in silico simulations to model interactions between disordered proteins. This computational approach can reveal information about biochemical interactions at the atomic level, which could not be otherwise observed, and helps scientists to better understand their experimental results in the lab. By studying the underlying principles of LLPS, Lukas and his group gain insights into how cells maintain precise control of biological functions, as well as how this regulation is disrupted in disease.


Further details

Lukas is an Associate Group Leader at IMB and a ReALity Junior Group Leader at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Further information about research in Stelzl lab can be found at www.imb.de/stelzl. The Stelzl lab is supported by ReALity and the M3ODEL Mainz Institute of Multiscale Modelling and Research Initiative of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de

About Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is a globally recognized research-driven university with around 31,500 students. Its main core research areas are in particle and hadron physics, the materials sciences, and translational medicine, while its most outstanding research achievements in the humanities have been attained in the fields of American Studies and Historical Cultural Studies. JGU's academic excellence is reflected in its success in the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments: In 2012, the university's Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter (PRISMA) Cluster of Excellence was approved and the funding of its Materials Science in Mainz (MAINZ) Graduate School of Excellence was extended. Moreover, excellent placings in national and international rankings, as well as numerous other honors and awards, demonstrate just how successful Mainz-based researchers and academics are. Further information at www.uni-mainz.de/eng

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management, Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany. Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Fax: +49 (0) 6131 39 21421, Email: press@imb.de

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Wed, 12 May 2021 09:21:13 +0200
2021 Workshop on Epigenetics of Ageing https://www.imb.de//2021ageingworkshop Registration is now open! Tue, 11 May 2021 13:47:23 +0200 Dorothee Dormann joins IMB as an Adjunct Director https://www.imb.de//about-imb/news/detail/dorothee-dormann-joins-imb-as-an-adjunct-director For more information click here

PRESS RELEASE

1 April – The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) is delighted to welcome Dorothee Dormann as an Adjunct Director. She will also be concurrently appointed as a Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU). Prof. Dormann joins us from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where she was an Emmy Noether Group Leader. Her research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases.

Neurodegenerative diseases such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are incurable disorders in which neurons and other cells of the nervous system gradually lose function and die, leading to loss of motor or mental functions with age. These diseases are characterised by the accumulation of insoluble protein aggregates in neurons and glia, which is thought to cause neuronal dysfunction and eventually neurodegeneration. In ALS and FTD, the main aggregating proteins are the RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) TDP-43 and FUS. These proteins are normally found in the nucleus, but in ALS and FTD they are mislocalised to the cytoplasm, where they form aggregates.

Dorothee’s team works to understand the molecular mechanisms that cause RBPs to become mislocalised and aggregate in ALS and FTD. They have previously shown that RBP mislocalisation is linked to defects in transporting these proteins into the nucleus, while aggregation may be linked to aberrant phase separation – a process by which proteins are segregated into droplet-like organelles, similar to how oil is separated from water. Now Dorothee and her team will continue to work towards understanding how nuclear transport and phase separation are dysregulated in ALS and FTD, and whether these changes can be suppressed by modulating posttranslational modifications on TDP-43 and FUS. By understanding the molecular mechanisms of protein aggregation, Dorothee and her team hope to develop new therapeutic approaches to treat neurodegenerative disease.


Further details

Dorothee is an Adjunct Director at IMB and a Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Further information about research in the Dormann lab can be found at www.imb.de/dormann.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de.

About Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is a globally recognized research-driven university with around 31,500 students. Its main core research areas are in particle and hadron physics, the materials sciences, and translational medicine, while its most outstanding research achievements in the humanities have been attained in the fields of American Studies and Historical Cultural Studies. JGU's academic excellence is reflected in its success in the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments: In 2012, the university's Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter (PRISMA) Cluster of Excellence was approved and the funding of its Materials Science in Mainz (MAINZ) Graduate School of Excellence was extended. Moreover, excellent placings in national and international rankings, as well as numerous other honors and awards, demonstrate just how successful Mainz-based researchers and academics are. Further information at www.uni-mainz.de/eng

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management, Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany. Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Fax: +49 (0) 6131 39 21421, Email: press@imb.de

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Thu, 01 Apr 2021 09:50:13 +0200
Nard Kubben joins IMB as a Group Leader https://www.imb.de//about-imb/news/detail/nard-kubben-joins-imb-as-a-group-leader For more information click here

PRESS RELEASE

Mainz, 12 March – The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) is delighted to welcome Nard Kubben as a new Group Leader. Nard joins us from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, where he worked as a research fellow. Nard’s research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of ageing and ageing-related diseases in humans using Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome as a model.

Ageing is common risk factor in many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and chronic kidney and lung diseases. Identifying ways to delay ageing is an important step in preventing and treating these diseases. Unfortunately, our current understanding of the molecular pathways that control ageing is limited due to a lack of robust model systems in which to study human ageing.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is an extremely rare premature ageing disease in which patients age six times faster than normal. The disease is caused by a mutation in the lamin A gene, which causes an aberrantly spliced form of lamin A called progerin to be produced. Importantly, low levels of progerin are also produced during normal physiological ageing, and progerin has been directly linked to many hallmarks of cellular ageing. HGPS patients share remarkably similar pathologies with normal, aged individuals, and their cells display the classical hallmarks of ageing (e.g. genomic instability, loss of heterochromatin and proteostasis, impaired mitochondria, activation of the senescence pathway). Therefore, HGPS is an ideal model for studying ageing.

In his previous work, Nard developed a cell system in which progerin expression can be induced and titrated. Using this system, cellular ageing defects can be induced in a matter of days, rather than decades, providing an extremely useful model for studying the ageing process. Now in his new lab at IMB, Nard will use high-throughput imaging and genome-wide screening technologies to study ageing in his cellular system. Through these studies, Nard aims to unravel the mechanistic basis of human ageing and identify novel anti-ageing pathways that can be used to treat disease.


Further details

Nard Kubben is a Group Leader at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB). Further information about research in the Kubben lab can be found at www.imb.de/kubben.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management, Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany. Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Fax: +49 (0) 6131 39 21421, Email: press@imb.de

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Fri, 12 Mar 2021 09:45:34 +0100
The IPP Summer Call is now OPEN! https://www.imb.de//students-postdocs/international-phd-programme To apply and for more information click here! Tue, 02 Mar 2021 09:39:34 +0100