Tracking Molecules at Turbo Speed

Being able to observe micro-organisms and their cellular components is key to understanding fundamental processes that go on inside cells—and thus potentially developing new medical treatments. Microbiologists and biophysicists from the University of Bonn and the Wageningen University & Research have now developed a method that makes the high-throughput process for observing molecules five times faster, enabling insights to be gained into hitherto unknown cellular functions. The results were published in Nature Methods.

Main regulator for the body`s oven discovered

Brown fat cells convert energy into heat – a key to eliminating unwanted fat deposits. In addition, they also protect against cardiovascular diseases. Researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life & Health" at the University of Bonn have now identified the protein EPAC1 as a new pharmacological target to increase brown fat mass and activity. The long-term aim is to find medicines that support weight loss. The results of the study have now been published in the renowned journal "Nature Cell Biology".

New call for prototyping grants open until February 25

Researchers at the University of Bonn can receive up to € 50,000 to further develop science-based and innovative start-up ideas. For this purpose, the Transfer Center enaCom invites applications for prototyping grants to prepare start-up projects from research for commercialization. The application deadline for the current call is February 25, 2024.

How does a molecular freight elevator work?

Some bacterial membrane transporters work almost like freight elevators to transport substances through the cell membrane into the interior of the cell. The transporter itself spans the bacterial membrane. Like a forklift, a soluble protein outside the bacterium transports the substance to the "elevator" and unloads its cargo there. The freight elevator transports it to the inside of the cell, in other words to another floor. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the University of Bonn, in collaboration with a team from the University of York, have now studied the interaction between the transporter and its soluble substrate binding protein. Interestingly, they adapt precisely to each other during the transportation process. As this happens very quickly, the researchers virtually "blocked" the elevator by specifically inserting anchors, so-called disulphide bridges. This enabled them to prove that only the loaded "forklift" fits the "elevator" if it is on the right floor. This makes transportation really effective. The study has now been published in the journal "Nature Communications".

Expert in the targeted degradation of proteins

Prof. Radosław P. Nowak has taken up the new professorship for "Immune Engineering and Drug Discovery" at the Institute of Structural Biology at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB). The 36-year-old biochemist will strengthen the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn scientifically in the field of systems immunology. He also wants to actively promote the topic of "drug discovery" in Bonn on an interfaculty basis and with non-university institutes. The aim is to create a high-performance, internationally competitive center for drug discovery. Prof. Nowak's academic training took him first to Oxford and then to Boston. He now comes from the Center for Protein Degradation (CPD) at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School.

How Bacteria load their syringes

Many bacterial pathogens use small injection apparatuses to manipulate the cells of their hosts, such as humans, so that they can spread throughout the body. To do this, they need to fill their syringes with the relevant injection agent. A technique that tracks the individual movement of proteins revealed how bacteria accomplish this challenging task. A team of researchers from the University of Bonn and the Max Planck Institute in Marburg have revealed how bacteria perform this complex task, using a technology that tracks the movement of individual proteins. Their findings have now been published in the leading journal Nature Microbiology.

University of Bonn expresses sympathy to partner university in Prague

The Management of the University of Bonn has issued the following statement on the attack at Charles University in Prague, in which several people were killed and many injured on December 21: "We are shocked by the cruel attack on innocent people at our long-standing partner university in Prague. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families and friends."

The Two (Country) Sides of Forests

How do national policies impact deforestation? Researchers from the University of Bonn have looked into this question at the global scale and have found that, contrary to common assumptions, national strategies have a significant—and visible—influence on efforts to protect forest heritage. Their study has now been published in the journal “Global Environmental Change.”

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