Enzyme of bacterial origin promoted the evolution of longhorned beetles

Gene duplication increased the diversity and specificity of enzymes that enable larvae of longhorned beetles to degrade important wood components. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, looked closer at a group of digestive enzymes found only in this beetle family. They resurrected the primordial enzymes, which first appeared in a common ancestor of longhorned beetles. Horizontal gene transfer from bacteria to the beetle as well as ancient and recent gene duplications promoted the evolution of this family of digestive enzymes and enabled longhorned beetles to degrade the main components of the plant cell wall.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Mass spectrometry-based draft of the mouse proteome

Proteins control and organize almost every aspect of life. The totality of all proteins in a living organism, a tissue or a cell is called the proteome. Using mass spectrometry, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) characterize the proteome, or protein complement of the genome, in important model organisms. In 2014, a team at the Chair of Proteomics and Bioanalytics reported a draft human proteome for the first time, followed by that of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana in 2020, and now that of the most common laboratory mouse.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Study at University Medicine Halle points to success of immunotherapy in the treatment of advanced stomach cancer

A clinical trial conducted by researchers at University Medicine Halle has shown that the lives of patients with a certain form of stomach cancer can be significantly prolonged when the current standard of care, which uses a combination of antibody therapy and chemotherapy to inhibit cell growth through receptor blockades, is supplemented by immunotherapy with the drug nivolumab.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Building Block for a Longer Life

Proteins are existential building blocks of life that also have numerous functions in plants. An average plant cell contains more than 20 billion protein molecules that maintain cellular metabolism and stabilise their structure. Researchers at the Centre for Organismal Studies of Heidelberg University recently shed light on a cellular mechanism that extends the life of plant proteins. They have now identified a key protein that regulates this mechanism, which is known as N-terminal acetylation.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

How protists crack the walls of algae

The unicellular protist Orciraptor agilis produces a number of partly novel enzymes and binding proteins while penetrating the cell wall of dead microalgae. Such enzymes could potentially be useful in industrial applications / publication in ‘Current Biology’

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Precise blood diagnostics improve treatment outcome in non-small cell lung cancer patients

Non-small cell lung carcinoma is a particularly aggressive type of lung cancer. Tumor cells and tumor DNA (ctDNA) in the blood of patients with the disease can be analyzed by means of liquid biopsy throughout the course of the disease. This information is important in order to be able to target the constantly changing tumor. A study from the University of Bayreuth is the first to show that liquid biopsy significantly improves treatment outcomes in many cases and can be cost-effective in the German care system. The scientists present their research results in the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

MCM molecules impede the formation of DNA loops

The entire genomic material of a cell must be packed into a tiny cell nucleus in such a way, that on the one hand, it can be stored in an organized manner and, on the other hand, it can be transcribed, duplicated or repaired as needed. Different proteins are responsible for space-saving packaging, which can roll up or loop the DNA. Scientists Kikuë Tachibana and Karl Duderstadt from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried are investigating the exact task and function of these molecular machines. They discovered that the MCM complex plays an important role in restricting DNA loop formation and thus in the three-dimensional structure of the genome and in gene regulation.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Process Chains for Isolation and Analysis: from Single Cells to Organoids

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT are working on new tools for the preparation and analysis of single cells and cell assemblies. The team developed the “Liftoscope”, a system for cell sorting for subsequent cultivation that can analyze and transfer biomaterials precisely and in a way that is gentle on cells. In addition to this system, further 3D bioprinting methods are increasingly finding their way into biotechnological research: Thanks to the development of microfluidic organ-on-a-chip systems, various cells can be arranged in a defined and reproducible manner to form artificial tissues.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

EBiSC2 and FAIRplus are improving FAIRness of stem cell data

The FAIRplus and EBiSC2 projects are joining forces to improve how ‘FAIR’ standards (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability) can be applied to human induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) line data. The joint effort will improve how iPSC line data can be made more findable, standardized and reusable for researchers.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Structure of key protein for cell division puzzles researchers

Human cell division involves hundreds of proteins at its core. Knowing the 3D structure of these proteins is pivotal to understand how our genetic material is duplicated and passed through generations. The groups of Andrea Musacchio and Stefan Raunser at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund are now able to reveal the first detailed structure of a key protein complex for human cell division known as CCAN. By using cryo-electron microscopy, the researchers show important features of the complex’s 16 components and challenge previous assumptions about how the complex is able to recognize the centromere, a crucial region of chromosomes in cell division.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Easy visualization of inhibitory synapses in cell culture and tissue with a versatile peptidic probe

Inhibitory synapses in neuron cultures and brain tissue can now be visualized with ease and with high contrast. The newly developed synthetic affinity probe Sylite can be applied both for widefield and confocal 3D volumetric synapse visualization, for in-tissue inhibitory circuits mapping and for super-resolution imaging of synapses.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Simulating the Machinery of Life

Every cell in our body is an immensely complex collection of biological machines that science still does not fully understand. In 2022, Assistant Professor Anđela Šarić and her team joined the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) to study the machinery of life in our cells. They use computer models based on molecular physics to computationally simulate intricate processes like cell division.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

How blood stem cells stay intact for a lifetime

Stem cells in the bone marrow keep replenishing us with blood cells until the day we die. They do this by dividing into a daughter cell that becomes a blood cell, and a second cell that remains a stem cell. But every time a cell divides, mistakes can occur that change the cell’s genome and increase the risk of it becoming a cancer cell.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Double agents: How stomach stem cells change allegiance upon injury

A stomach adult stem cell population can fulfill two distinct functions: either help with digestion under normal conditions or take the lead on injury response. Scientists at IMBA, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, demonstrate that these functions are two sides of a coin. Upon injury, one “molecular switch” is enough to propel the stem cells from one state to the other. The findings, now published in Cell Stem Cell, could be instrumental in improving our understanding of gastric pathologies.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Dividing walls: How immune cells enter tissue

To get to the places where they are needed, immune cells not only squeeze through tiny pores. They even overcome wall-like barriers of tightly packed cells. Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) have now discovered that cell division is key to their success. Together with other recent studies, their findings published in Science magazine give the full picture of a process just as important for healing as for the spread of cancer.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

New knowledge on lymphoid cell maturity could lead to more effective IBD therapies

A research group has analyzed how certain immune cells known as innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) develop into mature cells that play a part in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The findings could pave the way for more effective treatments against IBD, a disease that causes considerable suffering and that is linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Key characteristics of immune cells in ovarian cancer

Researchers want to improve their understanding of the immune environment in ovarian cancer in hopes of making immunotherapy an option for these patients. Researchers now report on key characteristics of immune cells in ovarian cancer and identify cell types important for mediating an immune response.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Researchers load CAR T cells with oncolytic virus to treat solid cancer tumors

Researchers have devised an immunotherapy technique that combines chimeric antigen receptor-T cell therapy, or CAR-T cell therapy, with a cancer-killing virus to more effectively target and treat solid cancer tumors.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Comprehensive map of human blood stem cell development

Scientists have created a new roadmap that traces each step in the development of blood stem cells in the human embryo, providing scientists with a blueprint for producing fully functional blood stem cells in the lab. The research could help expand treatment options for blood cancers like leukemia and inherited blood disorders such as sickle cell disease.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Epigenetic regulator explains why some lung cancer patients become resistant to common therapeutics

Cellular biologists discover why some patients become resistant to standard treatments for nonsmall cell lung cancer.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

How to find anti-cancer agents

Researchers have developed a novel substance that disables a protein in the cell skeleton, leading to cell death. In this way, substances of this type can prevent, for example, the growth of tumors. To accomplish this, the researchers combined a structural biological method with the computational design of active agents.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

New tool reveals how immune cells find their targets

Biological engineers have devised a new experimental tool that allows them to precisely pick out interactions between a particular B or T cell and its target antigen.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Crowning a quest into a very well-guarded secret: Structure of the kinetochore corona finally revealed

During cell division the 23 chromosomes must be first copied and later delivered to two newly forming daughter cells. At least in healthy cells, the result is astonishingly flawless, and no chromosome is ever lost. A multilayered protein structure called the kinetochore executes the chromosome delivery program. In a highly interdisciplinary collaborative tour-de-force, the groups of Andrea Musacchio and Stefan Raunser at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology studied the outermost layer of this structure, the kinetochore corona. They revealed the structural organization of the corona’s main building block, the RZZ complex, and deciphered the mechanism of corona assembly.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Evidence in mice that bacteria in tumors help cancer cells metastasize

Bacteria promote cancer metastasis by bolstering the strength of host cells against mechanical stress in the bloodstream, promoting cell survival during tumor progression, researchers report.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

DNA discovery reveals a critical ‚accordion effect‘ for switching off genes

Researchers have revealed how an ‚accordion effect‘ is critical to switching off genes, in a study that transforms the fundamentals of what we know about gene silencing. The finding expands our understanding of how we switch genes on and off to make the different cell types in our bodies, as we develop in the womb.

Quelle: Sciencedaily