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News from the Lab (news.myScience.ch)

  • News from the Lab’ is a selection of scientific works that are significant or interesting for a broad readership. 
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Life Sciences



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Life Sciences - Materials Science - 03.12.2020
Correctly Delivered and Integrated: How Proteins Find Their Place in the Cell
Correctly Delivered and Integrated: How Proteins Find Their Place in the Cell
Heidelberg Researchers determine the three-dimensional architecture of a molecular machine that inserts essential proteins into biomembranes Over a quarter of all proteins in a cell are found in the membrane, where they perform vital functions. To fulfil these roles, membrane proteins must be reliably transported from their site of production in the cell to their destination and correctly inserted into the target membrane.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 27.11.2020
How epithelial cells ward off viruses
How epithelial cells ward off viruses
The cytosolic sensor NLRP1 identifies viruses as non-self and triggers inflammatory responses The ability to differentiate between self and potentially harmful non-self is vital for the integrity and survival of organisms. In most organisms, the so-called innate immune system is responsible for the recognition of such intruders.

Computer Science - Life Sciences - 25.11.2020
Analysing Plant Cells With 3D Images
A new image processing programme makes it possible to view and analyse plant cells in detail in 3D. Bioscientists and computer scientists at Heidelberg University helped to develop the open-source software called PlantSeg. It is based on methods of machine learning and can be used to study the process of morphogenesis - how the shape of plants develops - at the cellular level.

Life Sciences - 17.11.2020
An epigenetic ageing clock in trees
An epigenetic ageing clock in trees
Research on environmental history: 330-year-old poplar tree tells of its life Similar to genetic mutations, epigenetic changes, i.e. gene modifications that do not occur on the primary DNA sequence, sometimes arise accidentally in plants and can be transmitted across generations. Using trees as a model, researchers have now shown for the first time that these so-called epimutations accumulate continuously throughout plant development, and that they can be employed as a molecular clock to estimate the age of a tree.

Life Sciences - Health - 11.11.2020
PM 98/2020 201111 How Molecular Chaperones Dissolve Protein Aggregates Linked To Parkinson’s Disease
In many neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, protein aggregates form in the brain and are assumed to contribute to neuronal cell death. Yet there exists a cellular defence mechanism that counteracts these aggregates, known as amyloid fibrils, and can even dissolve fibrils already formed. This defence mechanism is based on the activity of molecular chaperones, i.e. protein folding helpers, of the heat shock protein 70 family (Hsp70).

Life Sciences - 11.11.2020
How Organ Functions Were Shaped over the Course of Evolution
Heidelberg researchers gain groundbreaking new insights into the regulation and evolution of gene expression in mammalian organs A large-scale study conducted by molecular biologists from Heidelberg University has yielded groundbreaking new insights into the evolution and regulation of gene expression in mammalian organs.

Life Sciences - Environment - 09.11.2020
Infection by parasites disturbs flight behaviour in shoals of fish
Infection by parasites disturbs flight behaviour in shoals of fish
In order to escape predators, many fish - including insects, fish and birds - have developed strategies for rapidly transmitting information on threats to others of their species. This information is transmitted within a group of hundreds, or even thousands, of individuals in (escape) waves. This collective response is also, in the case of fish, known as shoal behaviour.

Life Sciences - 29.10.2020
Beetle larvae think with a brain 'under construction'
Beetle larvae think with a brain ’under construction’
Researchers at the University of Göttingen compare the development of beetle brains with that of flies In the human brain, hundreds of billions of nerve cells are interconnected in the most complicated way, and only when these interconnections are correctly made, can the brain function properly. This is no different for insects, even though their brains consist of -only- one hundred thousand to one million nerve cells.

Environment - Life Sciences - 27.10.2020
Shifts in Flowering Phases of Plants Due to Reduced Insect Density
Shifts in Flowering Phases of Plants Due to Reduced Insect Density
It still sounds unlikely today, but declines in insect numbers could well make it a frequent occurrence in the future: fields full of flowers, but not a bee in sight. A research group of the University of Jena and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) has discovered that insects have a decisive influence on the biodiversity and flowering phases of plants.

Environment - Life Sciences - 27.10.2020
On the way to fish-friendly hydropower
On the way to fish-friendly hydropower
EU project "FIThydro" studies environmental impact of hydroelectric power plants In the Europe-wide project "FIThydro" coordinated by the Technical University of Munich (TUM), researchers worked with industrial partners to study existing hydroelectric power plants. Based on their results, they have developed new assessment methods and technologies such as a fish population hazard index, fish migration simulations and an open-access decision support tool for power plant planning.

Life Sciences - Environment - 26.10.2020
A molecular break for root growth
A molecular break for root growth
Length of plant roots is controlled by hormones The dynamic change in root growth of plants plays an important role in their adjustment to soil conditions. Depending on the location, nutrients or moisture can be found in higher or lower soil layers. This is why, depending on the situation, a short or a long root is advantageous.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 23.10.2020
How "protein factories" mature
Ribosomes are small "factories" in which proteins are assembled according to genetic construction plans. The maturation of ribosomes, of which every human cell contains up to a million, is a complicated, multi-phase process. Now, with the aid of cryo-electron microscopy, scientists from Heidelberg University and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München have been able to clarify an important step in ribosomal formation.

Life Sciences - 21.10.2020
Animal-based research: Scientists develop new experimental design for an improved reproducibility
Animal-based research: Scientists develop new experimental design for an improved reproducibility
In research, the results of studies must be precise and reproducible. For this reason, researchers carried out experiments under strictly standardized laboratory conditions. However, despite the high standards applied, results from individual studies cannot always be reproduced in practice. Especially in cases in which animals are used for research purposes and the original study cannot be repeated, this raises severe ethical questions.

Life Sciences - Health - 20.10.2020
How the virus enters the cell
How the virus enters the cell
Coronavirus: Neuropilin-1 could open the door to the inside of the cell The protein neuropilin-1 facilitates SARS CoV-2 cell entry. A research team including Prof. Mikael Simons of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) recently published these findings in the journal "Science". Because neuropilin-1 is expressed in the mucous membranes of the olfactory and respiratory tract, the findings may be important for understanding the spreading of SARS CoV-2.

Life Sciences - Health - 13.10.2020
An alternative to animal experiments
An alternative to animal experiments
Scientists at the Technical University of Munich derived human organoids from duodenal tissue sections. Within a few days, organoids grow from small circular structures into bigger, more complex structures resembling many aspects of intestinal physiology. New applications for organoids from human intestinal tissue Researchers of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have cultured so-called intestinal organoids from human intestinal tissue, which is a common byproduct when performing bowel surgery.

Life Sciences - Health - 08.10.2020
New Class of Highly Effective Inhibitors Protects against Neurodegeneration
Heidelberg neurobiologists decode central mechanism of degenerative processes in the brains of mouse models and develop new principle for therapeutic agents Neurobiologists at Heidelberg University have discovered how a special receptor at neuronal junctions that normally activates a protective genetic programme can lead to nerve cell death when located outside synapses.

Health - Life Sciences - 08.10.2020
Understanding the course of viral infections
Understanding the course of viral infections
It is only 120 millionths of a millimetre in size but can bring entire countries to a standstill: the Corona virus. Even if it were to disappear one day, viral infections will still be among the most frequent and difficult-to-treat diseases in humans. Even decades of research have only produced a few standardized vaccines and strategies for treatment to combat just a small number of viruses.

Environment - Life Sciences - 07.10.2020
Are there hydroelectric power plants that are fish-friendly?
Are there hydroelectric power plants that are fish-friendly?
Complex investigation of new hydropower plants Modern hydroelectric power plants do not always protect fish better than conventional ones. In addition to the technologies employed, the specific location of the plant and the fish species being present at that location also play a role in fish protection.

Computer Science - Life Sciences - 29.09.2020
3D images display plant organs down to the smallest detail
3D images display plant organs down to the smallest detail
Intelligent software for a better understanding of plant tissue development Using artificial intelligence, researchers have developed a novel computer-based image processing method for plant sciences. The method enables the detailed 3D representation of all cells in various plant organs with unprecedented precision.

Life Sciences - Health - 28.09.2020
Looking at evolution's genealogy from home
Looking at evolution’s genealogy from home
As the developers of 2-n-way, Dr. Jürgen Schmitz, Dr. Liliya Doronina, Norbert Grundmann, Fengjun Zhang and Dr. Gennady Churakov (from left) are delighted at the publication of their project in the specialist press. Evolution leaves its traces in particular in genomes. Pinpointing its influence is a laborious process - but one in which Dr. Jürgen Schmitz and his team at the University of Münster are at home.
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