BCL11A: Evidence for neuroprotective effect

The neurotransmitter dopamine influences the activity of a wide variety of brain areas. A deficiency of this substance can have drastic consequences: The death of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the substantia nigra - a particularly sensitive part of the brain - is what causes the core symptoms of Parkinson's disease. An international team from the University of Bonn has now investigated the role played by the transcription factor BCL11A in mice and human cells. If this important factor is missing, the neurons are even more sensitive and more likely to die. The researchers suspect that BCL11A plays a protective role for neurons. The study is now published in Cell Reports.

How plants sense phosphate

A new study by the University of Bonn and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben sheds light on the mechanism used by plants to monitor how much of the nutrient phosphate is available, and to decide when strategies to mobilize and take up more phosphate from the soil must be activated. The enzyme ITPK1 plays a key role in this process. The researchers were also able to show that a particular group of signaling molecules involved in phosphate sensing respond very sensitively to phosphate and that this regulation takes place not only in plants but also in human cells. In the long term, the results could lead to the breeding of new crop varieties that require less phosphate fertilizer. The final version of the study has now been published in the journal "Molecular Plant".

Arriving in Bonn

The Orientation Weeks for international students recently arrived at the University of Bonn start on September 8. Besides exchange students from the Global Exchange Program (GEP), they are also being opened up to Erasmus students and students on international master’s degree program for the first time this year.

Study provides evidence for "new physics"

Is the Standard Model of particle physics incorrect at key points? Recently there has been an increase in experimental observations that deviate from the predictions of this widely accepted physical theory. A current study by the University of Bonn now provides even stronger evidence for the existence of "new physics". The final version of the paper is now published in the journal Physics Letters B. Lead author Chien-Yeah Seng will present the results in mid-October at the fall meeting of the U.S. Physical Society.

Adelgunde Brenninkmeijer-Werhahn receives an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Catholic Theology

Adelgunde Brenninkmeijer-Werhahn receives an honorary doctorate in theology (Dr. theol. honoris causa) from the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Bonn for her outstanding services to Jewish-Christian dialogue and Christian marriage and family theology. Dean Prof. Dr. Dr. Jochen Sauermeister will present the honor during a ceremony on Friday afternoon.

Persistent dysfunction in natural killer cells has been implicated in severe COVID-19 progressions

Based on previous studies of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is known that a specific form of white immune cells, natural killer (NK) cells, make an important contribution to the early antiviral immune response against SARS-CoV-2. An international team led by the University of Bonn has now found that in severe courses of COVID-19, the ability of natural killer cells to prevent pathological proliferation of fibrous tissue in the lungs is often impaired. Major parts of the study were conducted at the University Hospital Bonn and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE). The results have been published online in advance in the reputed journal "Immunity". The print version will appear shortly.

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