Blocked cell wall formation stops bacterial cell division

We still do not understand exactly how antibiotics kill bacteria. However, this understanding is necessary if we want to develop new antibiotics. And that is precisely what is urgently needed, because bacteria are currently showing more and more resistance to existing antibiotics. Therefore, researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the University of Bonn used high-performance microscopes to observe the effect of different antibiotics on the cell division of Staphylococcus aureus. They found that the biosynthesis of peptidoglycan, core component of the bacterial cell wall, is the driving force during the entire process of cell division. In addition, they clarified how exactly different antibiotics block cell division within a few minutes. The results have now been published in the journal Science Advances.

Many genes are involved in “resurrection”

Some plants can survive months without water, only to turn green again after a brief downpour. A recent study by the Universities of Bonn and Michigan shows that this is not due to a “miracle gene.” Rather, this ability is a consequence of a whole network of genes, almost all of which are also present in more vulnerable varieties. The results have already appeared online in advance in the journal "The Plant Journal". The print edition will be published soon.

Helium-burning white dwarf discovered

A white dwarf star can explode as a supernova when its mass exceeds the limit of about 1.4 solar masses. A team led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching and involving the University of Bonn has now found a binary star system in which matter flows onto the white dwarf from its companion. The system was found due to bright, so-called super-soft X-rays, which originate in the nuclear fusion of the overflowed gas near the surface of the white dwarf. The unusual thing about this source is that it is helium and not hydrogen that overflows and burns. The measured luminosity suggests that the mass of the white dwarf is growing more slowly than previously thought possible, which may help to understand the number of supernovae caused by exploding white dwarfs. The results are now published in the journal Nature.

QS Rankings by Subject: Another Strong Performance by the University of Bonn

Once again, the University of Bonn has improved its performance significantly in the QS Rankings by Subject this year, moving further up the leaderboard for Germany in around half of the subjects for which it received a ranking. Leading the field among these subjects is Mathematics, which has come top in Germany and 39th worldwide.

Beethoven’s genome offers clues to composer’s health and family history

Ludwig van Beethoven’s genome has been sequenced for the first time by an international team of scientists with the participation of the University of Bonn using five genetically matching locks of the well-known composer’s hair. 

New intracellular "smoke detector" discovered

Researchers at the Universities of Bonn and Singapore have discovered a new intracellular "smoke detector." The sensor warns of damage to the mitochondria - the microscopic power plants that supply the cell with energy. If it does not function properly, chronic skin diseases can result. The sensor may also be important for unimpaired heart and bowel function. The results have now been published in the journal Nature Immunology.

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