New insights into our immune system

Dendritic cells play an important role in setting the course of our immune system. However, what determines their heterogeneity and functional specialization is still not sufficiently understood. An international collaboration consisting of researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), the University of Bonn and the Technical University of Denmark, among others, has investigated the role of the transcription factor Bcl6 in dendritic cells in a mouse model and discovered that a subgroup is highly dependent on this protein. The findings contribute to a better understanding of immunological processes during infections, vaccinations, allergies and autoimmunity. The results have now been published in the renowned scientific journal "Nature Communications".

Possible alternative to antibiotics produced by bacteria

Many bacteria produce substances to gain an advantage over competitors in their highly competitive natural environment. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), the University of Bonn and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) have discovered a new so-called lantibiotic, namely epilancin A37. It is produced by staphylococci that colonize the skin and acts specifically against their main competitors there, the corynebacteria. This specificity is presumably mediated by a very special mechanism of action, which the researchers were able to decipher in detail. Their results have now been published in the renowned ISME Journal.

Breakthrough in brown fat research

Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark, the Novo Nordisk Center for Adipocyte Signaling (SDU), the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) have found a protein that is responsible for turning off brown fat activity. This new discovery could lead to a promising strategy for safely activating brown fat and tackling obesity and related health problems. The results of the study have now been published in the journal „Nature Metabolism“.

Awarding of the 2023 Gender Studies Prize and Maria von Linden Gender Equality Prize

The winners of the 2023 Gender Studies Prize and Maria von Linden Gender Equality Prize were honored at a ceremony last Friday. The University of Bonn Gender Equality Office presents these awards recognizing outstanding theses and dissertations in the fields of gender studies and queer studies and exemplary commitment in the area of gender equality.

Japan’s Imperial House Bestows Prestigious Honor on Michael Hoch

Yesterday, the Japanese government officially announced its intention to honor Professor Michael Hoch, the Rector of the University of Bonn, with the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” of the country’s Imperial House. Professor Hoch, who has held office since 2015, is thus being recognized for his contribution to academic exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and Germany. The order is one of the highest awarded for services to civil society. Other recipients of honors besides Rector Hoch include former federal minister Peter Altmaier and Professor Matthias Kleiner, former president of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Leibniz Association.

Focusing on Climate and Environmental Ethics

The European Union is committed to fighting climate change and the destruction of the environment and transitioning to a modern and competitive economy that makes efficient use of its resources. Yet technologies such as artificial intelligence have the potential to do as much harm as good. For instance, although AI applications can help reduce environmental pollution in agriculture, they expend significant computing resources, causing additional harm to people and the environment. The University of Bonn is assuming overall leadership of the RE4GREEN project, which is designed to focus on climate and environmental ethics during this upcoming transition. The initiative is to receive a total of €3 million in EU funding over the next three years.

How the Immune System Learns from Harmless Particles

Our lungs are bombarded by all manner of different particles every single day. Whilst some are perfectly safe for us, others—known as pathogens—have the potential to make us ill. The immune system trains its response whenever it encounters such a pathogen. Yet researchers at the University of Bonn have now shown that even harmless particles help to improve the immune response and have published their results in the journal “Nature Immunology.”

How immune cells communicate to fight viruses

Chemokines are signalling proteins that orchestrate the interaction of immune cells against pathogens and tumours. To understand this complex network, various techniques have been developed to identify chemokine-producing cells. However, it has not yet been possible to determine which cells react to these chemokines. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the University of Bonn have developed a new class of genetically modified mice that enables the simultaneous identification of chemokine producers and sensors. Using the chemokine Ccl3 as a “proof of principle”, they discovered that its function in the immune defence against viruses is different than had been previously assumed. Their results have now been published in the "Journal of Experimental Medicine".

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