Hijacking in the immune system

HCMV reprograms cellular defence mechanisms

The human cytomegalovirus, HCMV for short, lies dormant unnoticed in the body of most people for their entire lives. In immunocompromised individuals, however, the virus can cause life-threatening infections. It infects dendritic cells, a specific type of cell in the immune system. Although the majority of them are infected, only a few of them immediately execute the virus’s genetic programme. Researchers at TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, have now been able to show which signalling pathways of the innate immune system the virus is targeting in order to have itself produced by the host cells.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Biomolecular condensates – regulatory hubs for plant iron supply

Botany: Publication in the Journal of Cell Biology

Iron is a micronutrient for plants. Biologists from the Institute of Botany at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) describe in a study, which has now been published in the Journal of Cell Biology, that regulatory proteins for iron uptake behave particularly dynamically in the cell nucleus when the cells are exposed to blue light – an important signal for plant growth. They found that the initially homogeneously distributed proteins relocated together into “biomolecular condensates” in the cell nucleus shortly after this exposure.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Biomolekulare Kondensate – Schaltzentralen für die pflanzliche Eisenversorgung

Botanik: Veröffentlichung im Journal of Cell Biology

Eisen ist ein Mikronährstoff für Pflanzen. Biologinnen und Biologen vom Institut für Botanik der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (HHU) beschreiben in einer Studie, die nun im Journal of Cell Biology erschien, dass sich regulatorische Proteine für die Eisenaufnahme im Zellkern besonders dynamisch verhalten, wenn die Zellen mit blauem Licht, einem wichtigen Signal für das Pflanzenwachstum, bestrahlt werden. Sie fanden, dass sich die zunächst homogen verteilten Proteine kurze Zeit nach der Bestrahlung eng aneinanderlegten und sich im Zellkern zu „biomolekularen Kondensaten“ vereinten.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

New mechanism for regulating cell division in the bacterial pathogen Klebsiella uncovered

Klebsiella pneumoniae is one of the most common and most dangerous bacterial pathogens impacting humans, causing infections of the gastrointestinal tract, pneumonia, wound infections and even blood poisoning. With the aim of discovering therapeutically exploitable weaknesses in Klebsiella, a research team from the Balance of the Microverse Cluster of Excellence at the University of Jena, Germany has taken a close look at the molecular biology of the bacteria and was able to uncover the importance of a small, non-coding ribonucleic acid (sRNA for short) for the gene regulation of K. pneumoniae. They report their findings in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Adaptation through symbiosis, sixty-two million years of it

Brightly coloured beetles that feed on a wide range of plants possess robust metabolic capabilities, thanks to bacteria residing in specialised organs in their digestive tract. The bacterium Stammera provides essential enzymes enabling Cassidinae beetles to digest plant cell wall components efficiently. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen discovered the ancient origin of this specialised relationship. They found symbiotic leaf beetles exhibit greater species diversity than their non-symbiotic relatives. These findings, exposing the timing of symbiosis dating back sixty-two million years and its pivotal role in adaptation, are published in Current Biology.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Ways to achieve a peaceful co-existence with genomic parasites

Transposable elements are mobile genetic elements that can relocate within the genome and disrupt the normal function of genes, but are at the same time a source of evolutionary diversity. The lab of Tugce Aktas at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics has identified a novel pathway that keeps the activity of transposons in somatic cells in check after they have been transcribed. Their findings have now been published in Nature. The work is a collaboration with the labs of Zachary D. Smith (Yale Stem Cell Center, USA) and Franz-Josef Müller (Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Wege zur friedlichen Koexistenz mit genomischen Parasiten

Transposons sind mobile genetische Elemente, die sich innerhalb des Genoms bewegen und die normale Funktion von Genen stören können, gleichzeitig aber auch eine Quelle evolutionärer Vielfalt sind. Das Labor von Tugce Aktas am Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Genetik hat einen neuen Mechanismus identifiziert, der die Aktivität von Transposons in somatischen Zellen nach ihrer Transkription kontrolliert. Ihre Ergebnisse wurden jetzt in der Fachzeitschrift Nature veröffentlicht. Die Arbeit entstand in Zusammenarbeit mit den Labors von Zachary D. Smith (Yale Stem Cell Center, USA) und Franz-Josef Müller (Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Deutschland).

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

New strategy for safer CAR T cell therapy in lymphomas

Scientists from University Hospital Cologne have developed a procedure in the laboratory that effectively fights the affected cells in lymphoma cancer, but does not damage healthy immune cells, which is often the case with comparable therapies / publication in ‘Cell Reports Medicine’

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Neue Strategie für sicherere CAR-T-Zell-Therapie bei Lymphdrüsenkrebs entwickelt

Kölner Wissenschaftler*innen haben im Labor ein Verfahren entwickelt, das bei Lymphdrüsenkrebs die betroffenen Zellen effektiv bekämpft, gesunde Immunzellen aber nicht schädigt, was bei vergleichbaren Therapien oft der Fall ist / Veröffentlichung in „Cell Reports Medicine“

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

New insights into the cell’s labeling machine

Ubiquitin is a small protein with a big impact. From yeast fungi to humans, it serves as a molecular tag that regulates many cellular processes. Ubiquitin ligases are indispensable labeling machines in this tagging process: They attach ubiquitin to target proteins. If this tagging fails, processes in the cell can be pathologically altered. A team led by Sonja Lorenz at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Multidisciplinary Sciences has now visualized the ubiquitin ligase HACE1 bound to an important target protein in 3D. The researchers were thus able to elucidate how HACE1 recognizes proteins and how this process is regulated.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Pharmacological Inhibitor Protects Nerve Cells in ALS Disease

A new pharmacological inhibitor can intervene in a central cell death mechanism that is responsible for the death of motor neurons and hence important for the progression of the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A research team led by Prof. Dr Hilmar Bading, neurobiologist at Heidelberg University, examined a neuroprotective molecule that belongs to a novel drug class. It is able to inhibit the interactions of certain proteins and has been successfully tested in a mouse model of ALS and in brain organoids of ALS patients.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Study: How do plants adapt to cold ambient temperatures and frost?

As plants are sessile organisms, they must be highly flexible in their ability to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions in order to survive. Researchers from the Department of Plant Physiology at the RPTU Kaiserslautern are investigating plant adaptation mechanisms, particularly to abiotic stress factors such as light intensity or temperature. They have now reached a new milestone: PhD student Annalisa John has used the model plant thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) in her research work to decode which cellular mechanisms that plants use to adapt to cold temperatures and frost. The results of the study have been published in the renowned scientific journal “The Plant Cell”.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Studie: Wie passen sich Pflanzen an kalte Umgebungstemperaturen und Frost an?

Pflanzen haben in der Regel einen festen Standort. Sie müssen anpassungsfähig sein, um auch bei herausfordernden Bedingungen zu überleben. Welche Strategien sie nutzen, um auf schnell wechselnde Umweltbedingungen optimal zu reagieren, untersuchen Forschende vom Fachgebiet Pflanzenphysiologie an der RPTU. Dabei haben sie einen neuen Meilenstein erreicht: Doktorandin Annalisa John hat in ihrer Forschungsarbeit anhand der Modellpflanze Acker-Schmalwand (Arabidopsis thaliana) entschlüsselt, welche zellulären Mechanismen die Pflanze nutzt, um sich an kalte Umgebungstemperaturen und Frost anzupassen. Die Ergebnisse der Studie sind in der renommierten Fachzeitschrift „The Plant Cell“ erschienen.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

New T-FINDER Platform Provides Deep Insights Into T Cell Responses Against Novel Cancer Vaccine

Researchers at the BioMed X Institute and the Universitätsmedizin Mannheim just published the results of their collaboration around a new neoepitope vaccine in diffuse midline glioma in Science Advances.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

An infectious gibbon ape leukaemia virus is colonising a rodent’s genome in New Guinea

A research team catches a glimpes of a rare recent case of retrovirus integration. Retroviruses are viruses that multiply by incorporating their genes into the genome of a host cell. If the infected cell is a germ cell, the retrovirus can then be passed on to the next generation as an “endogenous” retrovirus (ERV) and spread as part of the host genome in that host species. In vertebrates, ERVs are ubiquitous and sometimes make up 10 per cent of the host genome. However, most retrovirus integrations are very old, already degraded and therefore inactive – their initial impact on host health has been minimised by millions of years of evolution.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Bielefelder Biotechnologen entschlüsseln Q10-Biosynthese

CeBiTec-Forschende mit Studie im Fachmagazin Molecular Cell

Das Coenzym Q10 ist für den menschlichen Stoffwechsel essenziell. Es ist mit Vitaminen verwandt – muss aber von gesunden Menschen nicht über die Nahrung aufgenommen werden, sondern wird vom Körper selbst produziert. Wie das Coenzym gebildet wird, war bisher nur für Bakterien bekannt. Für andere Zellen, zum Beispiel von Menschen oder Pflanzen, fehlte ein entscheidender Schritt. Wissenschaftlern des Centrums für Biotechnologie (CeBiTec) der Universität Bielefeld ist es gelungen, diese Lücke zu schließen.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Aktueller Themenband zu Gen- und Zelltherapien der AG Gentechnologiebericht

Die Arbeitsgruppe Gentechnologiebericht am Berlin Institute of Health in der Charité (BIH) hat eine aktuelle Übersicht zu Gen- und Zelltherapien herausgegeben. Die umfangreiche Publikation, die in Kooperation mit der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Gentherapie (DG-GT) und dem German Stem Cell Network (GSCN) entstanden ist, richtet sich an ein breites Publikum. Der Bedarf an sachkundigen Informationen über Entwicklungen der Gentechnologie ist groß. Hierbei sind Transparenz und ein verantwortungsvoller Umgang mit neuen Technologien unbedingt erforderlich.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Precursor of Cholesterol Protects Cells From Ferroptosis

A precursor of cholesterol, previously categorised as harmful, can protect cancer cells from cell death. This finding, published in Nature, opens new doors for cancer research.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

How HIV smuggles its genetic material into the cell nucleus

Around one million individuals worldwide become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, each year. To replicate and spread the infection, the virus must smuggle its genetic material into the cell nucleus and integrate it into a chromosome. Research teams led by Dirk Görlich at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Science and Thomas Schwartz at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have now discovered that its capsid has evolved into a molecular transporter. As such, it can directly breach a crucial barrier, which normally protects the cell nucleus against viral invaders. This way of smuggling keeps the viral genome invisible to anti-viral sensors in the cytoplasm.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Einfluss von N⁶-Methyladenosin auf die Translation

Ein internationales Forschungsteam unter der Leitung der Universität Hamburg hat die Auswirkungen des Nukleosids N⁶-Methyladenosin auf verschiedene Prozesse während der Proteinbiosynthese auf molekularer Ebene untersucht. Die Ergebnisse wurden nun in der Fachzeitschrift „Molecular Cell“ veröffentlicht.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Complement System Causes Cell Damage in Long Covid

Long Covid patients suffer from chronic symptoms such as fatigue or shortness of breath. As researchers at the University of Zurich and University Hospital Zurich have discovered, this is to some extent due to a part of our immune system called the complement system. The study identified a pattern in the blood proteins that will improve the diagnosis and perhaps also the targeted treatment of Long Covid.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Vaccine boosts innate immunity in people with dormant immune cells

Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is one of the world’s oldest and most widely used vaccines. It was developed in the early 20th century to provide protection from tuberculosis. Surprisingly, this vaccine protects not only against tuberculosis but also reduces the risk for various other infections, through a mechanism called trained immunity. A new study led by Christoph Bock and Mihai Netea found that epigenetic cell states predict whether or not an individual profits from the “wake-up call” to the innate immune system that is provided by the BCG vaccine. This discovery contributes to the development of future therapeutics that induce protective trained immunity.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

How does a molecular freight elevator work?: Important Membrane transport mechanism in pathogenic bacteria researched

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.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

The gut microbiome prevents dangerous immune reactions

After stem cell transplantation, the donated immune cells sometimes attack the patients‘ bodies. This is known as graft versus host disease or GvHD. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Universitätsklinikum Regensburg (UKR) have shown that GvHD is much less common when certain microbes are present in the gut. In the future, it may be possible to deliberately bring about this protective composition of the microbiome.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Treating tuberculosis when antibiotics no longer work

A research team has detected various substances that have a dual effect against tuberculosis: They make the bacteria causing the disease less pathogenic for human immune cells and boost the activity of conventional antibiotics / publication in ‘Cell Chemical Biology’

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft