A Railroad of Cells – Computer simulations explain cell movement

Looking under the microscope, a group of cells slowly moves forward in a line, like a train on the tracks. The cells navigate through complex environments. A new approach by researchers involving the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) now shows how they do this and how they interact with each other. The experimental observations and the following mathematical concept are published in Nature Physics.

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Odors are encoded in rings in the brain of migratory locusts

In a new study published in the journal Cell, a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, describes for the first time how odors are encoded in the antennal lobe, the olfactory center in the brain of migratory locusts. Using transgenic locusts and imaging techniques, the researchers were able to show a ring-shaped representation of odors in the brain. The pattern of olfactory coding in the antennal lobe is the same at all stages of locust development. A better understanding of olfactory coding in the locust brain should help to learn more about how the behavior of these insects is controlled, especially their swarming.

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Düfte werden im Gehirn von Wanderheuschrecken ringförmig kodiert

In der Fachzeitschrift Cell beschreibt ein Forschungsteam des Max-Planck-Instituts für chemische Ökologie in Jena erstmals, wie Gerüche im Antennallobus, dem Riechzentrum im Gehirn von Wanderheuschrecken kodiert werden. Mit Hilfe von transgenen Heuschrecken und bildgebenden Verfahren konnten die Forscherinnen und Forscher eine ringförmige Repräsentation von Düften im Gehirn nachweisen. Das Muster der Geruchskodierung im Antennallobus ist in allen Entwicklungsstadien der Wanderheuschrecke gleich. Ein besseres Verständnis der Duftkodierung im Heuschreckengehirn soll dazu beitragen, mehr über die Steuerung des Verhaltens dieser Insekten, insbesondere des Schwarmverhaltens, zu erfahren.

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New Findings on How Initial SARS-CoV-2 Cell-Entry Route Influences Infection Outcomes

An international research team has gained new insights into the way SARS-CoV-2 enters cells and its downstream consequences. As an aid to the ACE2 surface protein, the TMPRSS2 serine protease plays an important role in enhancing cell infection: it boosts the resulting immune response, increases cell death, and drives virus evolution. In addition to the human version, TMPRSS2 proteins from diverse mammal species can also enhance infection. These findings may contribute to the development of future treatments and prevention strategies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) reports on these results in its edition from 4 June 2024.

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DKMS Stem Cell Bank: schnellere Hilfe und eine bessere Chance auf Heilung für Blutkrebspatient:innen

Als weltweit erste Einrichtung stellt die DKMS Stem Cell Bank kryokonservierte periphere Blutstammzellen für allogene Transplantationen zur Verfügung.

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Molecular Stop Signal Identified: The Surveillance System of Cell Division

Several million cells divide every second in our bodies. During nuclear division (mitosis), the genetic material must be distributed correctly and completely between the daughter cells – errors in this process can lead to defective developments or genetic disorders, and many cancer cells are also characterised by unequal numbers of chromosomes. Therefore, if errors in the division process become apparent, the cell can stop it. Biologists at the University of Duisburg-Essen have been able to elucidate this process at a molecular level. The scientific journal ‘Current Biology’ has published their findings

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Plants Restrict Use of “Tipp-Ex Proteins”

Plants have special corrective molecules at their disposal that can make retrospective modifications to copies of genes. However, it would appear that these “Tipp-Ex proteins” do not have permission to work in all areas of the cell, only being used in chloroplasts and mitochondria. A study by the University of Bonn has now explained why this is the case. It suggests that the correction mechanism would otherwise modify copies that have nothing wrong with them, with fatal consequences for the cell. The findings have now been published in “The Plant Journal.”

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Customised production of antiviral coatings and cell culture surfaces

The method of material scientists from Kiel enables first comprehensive comparison of polymer coatings for biomedical applications

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New study identifies mechanism of immune evasion of SARS-CoV-2 and variants

A new study has revealed important insights into how SARS-CoV-2 and its variants escape the immune system. The findings pave the way for new therapeutic approaches against COVID-19. The research of the international team of scientists from the USA, Brazil and Germany focused on the interactions between the virus and the human innate immune system. The study was led by a team from the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, USA. The results were published in the renowned journal „Cell“ on May 9, 2024.

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Derivatives of the thalidomide compound drive resistant cancer cells to their deaths

A study by Goethe University Frankfurt points to the possibility that thalidomide derivatives are potentially suitable for treating cancer. Thalidomide was marketed in the 1950s as a sleeping pill. It later gained sad notoriety for causing severe fetal abnormalities in the early stages of pregnancy. It is meanwhile known that the molecule marks proteins in the cell for degradation. For the current study, the researchers produced thalidomide derivatives. They were able to show that these influence the degradation of proteins responsible for the survival of cancer cells.

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First model of the brain’s information highways developed

Our human brain is not only bigger and contains more neurons than the brains of other species, but it is also connected in a special pattern: Thick bundles of neurons connect brain regions across long distances, such as the right and left brain hemispheres. A team of researchers at IMBA, including Catarina Martins-Costa, Nina Corsini and Jürgen Knoblich, now presents the first organoid model in which these information highways can be studied. Their results are published on May 7th in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

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Model der Autobahnen im Gehirn entwickelt

Unser menschliches Gehirn ist nicht nur größer und enthält mehr Nervenzellen als die Gehirne anderer Arten, sondern ist auf eine ganz besondere Weise vernetzt: Dicke Nervenbündel verbinden Gehirnregionen über weite Strecken, etwa die linke und die rechte Gehirnhälfte. Ein ForscherInnenteam des IMBA, rund um Catarina Martins-Costa, Nina Corsini und Jürgen Knoblich, präsentierte nun das erste Organoidmodell, in dem diese Informations-Autobahnen untersucht werden können. Die Ergebnisse erscheinen am 7. Mai im Fachmagazin Cell Stem Cell.

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Vaccinia Virus – New Insights into the Structure and Function of the Poxvirus Prototype

An outbreak of infections with the mpox virus – formerly known as monkeypox – in Europe in 2022 led to a rise in interest in poxviruses. An international research team investigated the structure of the poxvirus prototype, the vaccinia virus (VACV). The team found that trimers of the A10 protein, an abundant protein of the virus, play an important role in the formation of the mature virus. These trimers may also be involved in interactions with other cell components during infection, which could provide a starting point for the development of antiviral therapies against viruses from the poxvirus family.

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Advanced Brain Science Without Coding Expertise

Researchers at Helmholtz Munich and the LMU University Hospital Munich introduce DELiVR, offering a new AI-based approach to the complex task of brain cell mapping. The deep learning tool democratizes advanced neuroscience by eliminating the need for coding expertise. DELiVR empowers biologists to investigate disease-related spatial cell dynamics efficiently, fostering the development of precision therapies for enhanced patient care.

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Lichterfest in lebenden Zellen: Neue Methode erlaubt gleichzeitige fluoreszente Markierung vieler Proteine

Proteine in Zellen präzise zu beobachten ist für viele Forschungszweige extrem wichtig, war bisher jedoch eine große technische Hürde – vor allem in lebenden Zellen, denn die dafür nötige fluoreszente Markierung musste an jedes Protein einzeln angebracht werden. Der Forschungsgruppe um Stefan Kubicek am CeMM ist es nun gelungen, diese Hürde aus dem Weg zu räumen: Mit einem Verfahren, dass sie „vpCells“ getauft haben, lassen sich viele Proteine gleichzeitig mit fünf verschiedenen Fluoreszenzfarben markieren. Die Studie wurde im Fachjournal Nature Cell Biology (DOI: 10.1038/s41556-024-01407-w) veröfffentlicht, und die Bilder sind öffentlich zugänglich auf vpcells.cemm.at.

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Professor Dr Robert Zeiser receives DKMS Mechtild Harf Science Award 2024

DKMS emphasizes its commitment to blood cancer research, supports young scientists, and recognizes outstanding research achievements in the field of stem cell transplantation.

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Theodor-Frerichs-Preis der DGIM: Warum dauerhafter Stress chronische Darmkrankheiten verschlechtert

Anhaltender Stress zieht den Darm in Mitleidenschaft. Insbesondere bei chronisch-entzündlichen Darmerkrankungen ist bekannt, dass psychische Belastungen zu akuten Krankheitsschüben führen können. Die molekularen Mechanismen dahinter sind bisher unzureichend erforscht. Ein Team um den Gastroenterologen Professor Dr. med. Dr. rer. nat. Kai Markus Schneider konnte wichtige Erkenntnisse darüber beitragen, welche zellulären und biochemischen Vorgänge der Verbindung zwischen Psyche und Darm zugrundeliegen. Für die in „Cell“ publizierte Arbeit erhält Schneider, der an der Uniklinik der RWTH Aachen tätig ist, den diesjährigen Theodor-Frerichs-Preis der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Innere Medizin e.V..

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Innovative Antiviral Defense With New CRISPR Tool

The rise of RNA viruses like SARS-CoV-2 highlights the need for new ways to fight them. RNA-targeting tools like CRISPR/Cas13 are powerful but inefficient in the cytoplasm of cells, where many RNA viruses replicate. Scientists from Helmholtz Munich and the Technical University Munich (TUM) have devised a solution: Cas13d-NCS. This new molecular tool allows CRISPR RNA molecules that are located within the nucleus of a cell to move to the cytoplasm, making it highly effective at neutralizing RNA viruses. This advancement opens doors for precision medicine and proactive viral defense strategies. The findings were published in Cell Discovery.

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With the Flick of a Switch: Shaping Cells with Light

Imagine switching on a light and being able to understand and control the inner dynamics of a cell. This is what the Dimova group has achieved: by shining lights of different colors on replicates of cells, they altered the interactions between cellular elements. Controlling these complex interactions enables us to deliver specific drugs directly into the cells. And with the flick of a switch, we could adjust or even reverse this delivery, potentially revolutionizing the treatment of cells in a smart, accurate and non-invasive way.

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Fuelling nerve cell function and plasticity

New finding from scientists at the University of Cologne discloses how mitochondria control tissue rejuvenation and synaptic plasticity in the adult mouse brain / publication in ‘Neuron’

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How Plants Heal Wounds – Mechanical Forces Guide Direction of Cell Division

Plants are very robust and survive harsh environments, owing in part to their remarkably efficient wound-healing capacity. For over a century, scientists aimed to understand it in more detail. A new collaborative study at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) now shows that the process is quite straightforward, revolving around pressure and forces. The results, published in Developmental Cell, hold promise for advancing agriculture.

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Zell-Organisatoren unter Druck: Mechanismen des embryonalen Zahnwachstums aufgedeckt

Forschungsteam des Exzellenzclusters Physics of Life der TU Dresden, der Universität Kalifornien und des Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s Los Angeles veröffentlicht in Nature Cell Biology bisher ungeklärte Mechanismen darüber, wie ein Embryo seine Zellen während des Zahnwachstums organisiert.

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New Leibniz ScienceCampus for the DSMZ in Braunschweig

At its meeting on 19 March 2024, the Senate of the Leibniz Association made major decisions in various cross-institute funding formats: the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH in Braunschweig, Germany, is leading one of seven new ScienceCampi. „The Leibniz Association and the state of Lower Saxony are funding the establishment of the Leibniz ScienceCampus EcoPath (Evolutionary Ecology of Zoonotic Pathogens during Agricultural Transformations), which has a total volume of 3.8 million euros, under the leadership of the Leibniz Institute DSMZ.“, announced the Scientific Director of the Institute, Professor Dr Jörg Overmann, today.

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New Research Results – Safety of Short-Term Cultivated CAR T Cells in Cancer Immunotherapy

Short-term cultivated, individualised immune cells (CAR T cells) are currently being developed as a therapeutic option for patients with blood cancer. A research team from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut has shown with mouse and cell models that these cells carry a higher risk for cytokine release syndrome than conventional CAR T cells. The cytokine release is caused by residual components of vector particles on the CAR T cells and is independent of tumour cells. Careful consideration of the safety of this innovative treatment is required to minimise risks to patients. EMBO Molecular Medicine reports on the results in its issue dated 21 March 2024.

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Three-dimensional image of the symbiotic communities around plant roots

Biology: Publication in Cell Host & Microbe

Animals and plants form complex symbiotic communities with microorganisms, the so-called microbiome. A research team from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) in Cologne has now investigated the three-dimensional microbiota structure around plant roots. In the scientific journal Cell Host & Microbe, they report that microbial community composition varies along the root and that this is influenced by the root spatial metabolism.

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