Heidelberg, 5 December 2013 Light at the ends of the tunnel When scientists in the Beck group at EMBL Heidelberg determined what one of the nuclear pore’s main building blocks – Nup107 – looks like and how it is arranged, they found clues to the flexibility of this tunnel into the nucleus. Their study was recently featured on the cover of Cell.
Heidelberg, 1 December 2013 Chance and influence Whether a cell in a mammal’s embryo develops into the animal’s body or becomes the placenta and accompanying tissues isn’t sealed at the start, scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have discovered. Starting with random variation, cells gradually change until they split into the two populations that will become either the body or ‘extra-embryonic’ tissues.
Heidelberg, 19 November 2013 Growing bubbles Scientists now have a new tool to study interactions between proteins and the lipids that form the cell's membranes, by producing tiny ‘bubbles’ of artificial membrane. The new technique, recently published in Nature Methods, was developed by Anne-Claude Gavin and colleagues at EMBL Heidelberg.
Monterotondo, 10 November 2013 What are you scared of? What do bullies and sex have in common? Based on work by scientists at EMBL Monterotondo, it seems that the same part of the brain reacts to both. In a study published today in Nature Neuroscience, the researchers found that – at least in mice – different types of fear are processed by different groups of neurons. The findings could have implications for addressing phobias and panic attacks in humans.
Heidelberg, 23 October 2013 Bigger, better, faster The molecular machine that makes essential components of ribosomes is like a Swiss-army knife, researchers at EMBL Heidelberg and collaborators have found. By determining the 3-dimensional structure of this machine, called RNA polymerase I, for the first time, the scientists found that it incorporates modules which prevent it from having to recruit outside help. The findings, published online today in Nature, can help explain why this protein works faster than its better-studied counterpart.
Heidelberg, 13 October 2013 Choreographed origami Like a budding origami artist pencilling in the folds, the cell uses tags called methyl groups to help mark where and how an RNA molecule should be folded. In work published online today in Nature, scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have discovered that, to build ribosomes, pairs of these tags are added in a specific order.
Heidelberg, 25 September 2013 Without a trace Cells in a zebrafish embryo determine which direction they move in by effectively erasing the path behind them, scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have discovered. The findings, published online today in Nature, could have implications not just for development but also for cancer and metastasis.
Heidelberg, 16 September 2013 Playing ‘Who’s who?’ with atoms In the Carlomagno group’s molecular version of ‘Who’s who’, Alexander Marchanka at EMBL Heidelberg has devised a whole new suite of ‘questions’ to enable researchers to identify the atoms in an RNA molecule by solid-state NMR. The work is featured on the cover of Angewandte Chemie.
Heidelberg, 12 September 2013 Potential new drug target for cystic fibrosis Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg, Regensburg University, and the University of Lisboa have discovered a promising potential drug target for cystic fibrosis. Their work, published online today in Cell, also uncovers a large set of genes not previously linked to the disease, demonstrating how a new screening technique can help identify new drug targets.
Heidelberg, 4 September 2013 It's not just noise Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have shown that specific exons – parts our genes are broken up into – are important to the functioning of human organs. The findings, published in PNAS, highlight finely tuned, crucial events within a seemingly chaotic landscape and provide a rich resource for the study of genetics relating to human health and disease.