News 2017



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Functional antibody delivery in living cells would enable the labelling and manipulation of intracellular antigens, which constitutes a long-thought goal in cell biology and medicine. Here we present a modular strategy to create functional cell-permeable nanobodies capable of targeted labelling and manipulation of intracellular antigens in living cells. The ...

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NMR spectroscopy is a powerful technique to study ribonucleic acids (RNAs) which are key players in a plethora of cellular processes. Although the NMR toolbox for structural studies of RNAs expanded during the last decades, they often remain challenging. Here, we show that solvent paramagnetic relaxation enhancements (sPRE) induced by the soluble, paramagnetic ...

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Multi-domain proteins play critical roles in fine-tuning essential processes in cellular signaling and gene regulation. Typically, multiple globular domains that are connected by flexible linkers undergo dynamic rearrangements upon binding to protein, DNA or RNA ligands. RNA binding proteins (RBPs) represent an important class of multi-domain proteins, which ...

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Vector-borne trypanosomatid parasite infections in tropical and sub-tropical countries constitute a major threat to humans and livestock. Trypanosoma brucei parasites are transmitted by tsetse fly and lead to African sleeping sickness in humans and Nagana in cattle. In Latin American countries, Trypanosoma cruzi infections spread by triatomine kissing bugs lead ...

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Replacement of canonical histones with specialized histone variants promotes altering of chromatin structure and function. The essential histone variant H2A.Z affects various DNA-based processes via poorly understood mechanisms. Here, we determine the comprehensive interactome of H2A.Z and identify PWWP2A as a novel H2A.Z-nucleosome binder. PWWP2A is a ...

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Histone H2AX phosphorylation is an early signalling event triggered by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). To elucidate the elementary units of phospho-H2AX-labelled chromatin, we integrate super-resolution microscopy of phospho-H2AX during DNA repair in human cells with genome-wide sequencing analyses. Here we identify phospho-H2AX chromatin domains in the ...

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Das Institut für chemische Epigenetik (ICEM) mit einer Nutzfläche von 3.430 m² und einer Fördersumme von 38,73 Millionen Euro hat eine Förderempfehlung von Seiten des Wissenschaftsrates erhalten.
Das ICEM basiert auf dem CIPSM und wird den Forschungsschwerpunkt der chemischen Epigenetik erforschen.

Der Forschungsbau wird auf dem HighTech Campus ...

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Achromatopsia type 2 (ACHM2) is a severe, inherited eye disease caused by mutations in the CNGA3 gene encoding the α subunit of the cone photoreceptor cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel. Patients suffer from strongly impaired daylight vision, photophobia, nystagmus, and lack of color discrimination. We have previously shown in the Cnga3 knockout (KO) mouse ...

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Mutations in the photoreceptor outer segment (OS) specific peripherin-2 lead to autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP). By contrast, mutations in the peripherin-2 homolog Rom-1 cause digenic RP in combination with certain heterozygous mutations in peripherin-2. The mechanisms underlying the differential role of peripherin-2 and Rom-1 in RP pathophysiology ...

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Inherent intermediate-to-low affinity T cell receptors (TCR) that develop during the natural course of immune responses may not allow sufficient activation for tumor elimination, making the majority of T cells suboptimal for adoptive T cell therapy (ATT). TCR affinity enhancement has been implemented to provide stronger T cell activity but carries the risk of ...

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The bromodomain protein Brd4 is an epigenetic reader and plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of leukemia. Brd4 binds to acetylated histone tails and activates transcription by recruiting the positive elongation factor P-TEFb. Small molecule inhibitor JQ1 competitively binds the bromodomains of Brd4 and displaces the protein from acetylated ...

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Two-component systems are crucial for signal perception and modulation of bacterial behavior. Nevertheless, to date, very few ligands have been identified that directly interact with histidine kinases. The histidine kinase/response regulator system YehU/YehT of Escherichia coli is part of a nutrient-sensing network. Here we demonstrate that this system senses the ...

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The carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) of the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) orchestrates dynamic recruitment of specific cellular machines during different stages of transcription. Signature phosphorylation patterns of Y1S2P3T4S5P6S7 heptapeptide repeats of the CTD engage specific “readers.” Whereas phospho-Ser5 and phospho-Ser2 marks are ubiquitous, ...

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The transmembrane DNA-binding protein CadC of E. coli, a representative of the ToxR-like receptor family, combines input and effector domains for signal sensing and transcriptional activation, respectively, in a single protein, thus representing one of the simplest signalling systems. At acidic pH in a lysine-rich environment, CadC activates the transcription of ...

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Quorum sensing (QS) is a process enabling a bacterial population to communicate via small molecules called autoinducers (AIs). This intercellular communication process allows single cells to synchronize their behavior within a population. The marine bacterium Vibrio harveyi ATCC BAA-1116 channels the information of three AI signals into one QS cascade. Three ...

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3D structured illumination microscopy (3D-SIM) is the super-resolution technique of choice for multicolor volumetric imaging. Here we provide a validated sample preparation protocol for labeling nuclei of cultured mammalian cells, image acquisition and registration practices, and downstream image analysis of nuclear structures and epigenetic marks. Using ...

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Chromatin-remodeling enzymes perform the formidable task of reorganizing the structure of a stable macromolecular assembly, the nucleosome. Recently published work demonstrates that the SNF2H chromatin remodeler distorts the histone octamer structure upon binding to the nucleosome, then taps into this induced plasticity to productively achieve nucleosome sliding.
 

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The translocon on the outer membrane of mitochondria (TOM) facilitates the import of nuclear-encoded proteins. The principal machinery of mitochondrial protein transport seems conserved in eukaryotes; however, divergence in the composition and structure of TOM components has been observed between mammals, yeast, and plants. TOM9, the plant homolog of yeast Tom22, ...

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The parasitic protists of the Trypanosoma genus infect humans and domestic mammals, causing severe mortality and huge economic losses. The most threatening trypanosomiasis is Chagas disease, affecting up to 12 million people in the Americas. We report a way to selectively kill Trypanosoma by blocking glycosomal/peroxisomal import that depends on the PEX14-PEX5 ...

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The present review summarizes the current status of achromatopsia (ACHM) gene therapy-related research activities and provides an outlook for their clinical application. ACHM is an inherited eye disease characterized by a congenital absence of cone photoreceptor function. As a consequence, ACHM is associated with strongly impaired daylight vision, photophobia, ...

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the main causative agent of tuberculosis (Tb), has a complex cell envelope which forms an efficient barrier to antibiotics, thus contributing to the challenges of anti-tuberculosis therapy. However, the unique Mtb cell wall can be considered an advantage and be utilized to selectively label Mtb bacteria. Here we introduce three ...

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Members of the interleukin 12 (IL12) family perform essential functions in immunoregulation by connecting innate and adaptive immunity and are emerging therapeutic targets. They are unique among other interleukins in forming heterodimers that arise from extensive subunit sharing within the family, leading to the production of at least four functionally distinct ...

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The broad substrate tolerance of tubulin tyrosine ligase is the basic rationale behind its wide applicability for chemoenzymatic protein functionalization. In this context, we report that the wild-type enzyme enables ligation of various unnatural amino acids that are substantially bigger than and structurally unrelated to the natural substrate, tyrosine, without ...

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Recent advances in RNA sequencing technologies have greatly expanded our knowledge of the RNA landscape in cells, often with spatiotemporal resolution. These techniques identified many new (often non-coding) RNA molecules. Large-scale studies have also discovered novel RNA binding proteins (RBPs), which exhibit single or multiple RNA binding domains (RBDs) for ...

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Cationic amphiphilic drugs (CADs) comprise a wide variety of different substance classes such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antiarrhythmics. It is well recognized that CADs accumulate in certain intracellular compartments leading to specific morphological changes of cells. So far, no adequate technique exists allowing for ultrastructural analysis of CAD ...

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The transport of peroxisomal membrane proteins (PMPs) requires the soluble PEX19 protein as chaperone and import receptor. Recognition of cargo PMPs by the C-terminal domain (CTD) of PEX19 is required for peroxisome biogenesis in vivo. Farnesylation at a C-terminal CaaX motif in PEX19 enhances the PMP interaction, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are ...

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DNMT1 is recruited to substrate sites by PCNA and UHRF1 to maintain DNA methylation after replication. The cell cycle dependent recruitment of DNMT1 is mediated by the PCNA-binding domain (PBD) and the targeting sequence (TS) within the N-terminal regulatory domain. The TS domain was found to be mutated in patients suffering from hereditary sensory and autonomic ...

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Natural and synthetic scaffolds support enzyme organization in complexes, and they regulate their function and activity. Here we report that CipA and CipB, two small proteins that form protein crystalline inclusions (PCIs) in the cytoplasm of Photorhabdus luminescens, can be utilized as scaffolds to efficiently incorporate exogenous proteins into PCIs. We ...

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Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) offers new possibilities to address biological and medical questions. However, systematic comparisons of the performance of diverse scRNA-seq protocols are lacking. We generated data from 583 mouse embryonic stem cells to evaluate six prominent scRNA-seq methods: CEL-seq2, Drop-seq, MARS-seq, SCRB-seq, Smart-seq, and ...

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Chloroplasts originated from an endosymbiotic event in which a free-living cyanobacterium was engulfed by an ancestral eukaryotic host. During evolution the majority of the chloroplast genetic information was transferred to the host cell nucleus. As a consequence, proteins formerly encoded by the chloroplast genome are now translated in the cytosol and must be ...

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In vivo two-photon Ca2+ imaging has become an effective approach for the functional analysis of neuronal populations, individual neurons and subcellular neuronal compartments in the intact brain. When imaging individually labelled neurons, depth penetration can often reach up to 1 mm below the cortical surface. However, for densely labelled neuronal populations, ...

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Protein lysine methyltransferases (PKMTs) regulate diverse physiological processes including transcription and the maintenance of genomic integrity. Genetic studies suggest that the PKMTs SUV420H1 and SUV420H2 facilitate proficient nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ)-directed DNA repair by catalyzing the di- and trimethylation (me2 and me3, respectively) of lysine ...

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Advances in the engineering of nanoparticles (NPs), which represent particles of less than 100 nm in one external dimension, led to an increasing utilization of nanomaterials for biomedical purposes. A prerequisite for their use in diagnostic and therapeutic applications, however, is the targeted delivery to the site of injury. Interactions between blood-borne ...

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Glia play crucial roles in the development and homeostasis of the nervous system. While the GLIA in the Drosophila embryo have been well characterized, their study in the adult nervous system has been limited. Here, we present a detailed description of the glia in the adult nervous system, based on the analysis of some 500 glial drivers we identified within a ...

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Nature provides an inexhaustible diversity of small organic molecules with beautiful molecular architectures that have strong and selective inhibitory activities. However, this tremendous biomedical potential often remains inaccessible, as the structural complexity of natural products can render their synthetic preparation extremely challenging. This problem is ...

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BceRS and PsdRS are paralogous two-component systems in Bacillus subtilis controlling the response to antimicrobial peptides. In the presence of extracellular bacitracin and nisin, respectively, the two response regulators (RRs) bind their target promoters, PbceA or PpsdA, resulting in a strong up-regulation of target gene expression and ultimately antibiotic ...

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Fibrillar aggregates of Aβ and Tau in the brain are the major hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Most Tau fibers have a twisted appearance but the twist can be variable and even absent. This ambiguity, which has also been associated with different phenotypes of tauopathies, has led to controversial assumptions about fibril constitution, and it is unclear to-date ...

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Protein-protein docking protocols aim to predict the structures of protein-protein complexes based on the structure of individual partners. Docking protocols usually include several steps of sampling, clustering, refinement and re-scoring. The scoring step is one of the bottlenecks in the performance of many state-of-the-art protocols. The performance of scoring ...

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During development, many epithelia are formed by a mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET). Here, we examine the major stages and underlying mechanisms of MET during blood-brain barrier formation in Drosophila. We show that contact with the basal lamina is essential for the growth of the barrier-forming subperineurial glia (SPG). Septate junctions (SJs), which ...

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mRNA localization is an essential mechanism of gene regulation and is required for processes such as stem-cell division, embryogenesis and neuronal plasticity. It is not known which features in the cis-acting mRNA localization elements (LEs) are specifically recognized by motor-containing transport complexes. To the best of our knowledge, no high-resolution ...

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Integrins, a diverse class of heterodimeric cell surface receptors, are key regulators of cell structure and behaviour, affecting cell morphology, proliferation, survival and differentiation. Consequently, mutations in specific integrins, or their deregulated expression, are associated with a variety of diseases. In the last decades, many integrin-specific ...

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Two-component signal transduction constitutes the predominant strategy used by bacteria to adapt to fluctuating environments. The KdpD/KdpE system is one of the most widespread, and is crucial for K+ homeostasis. In Escherichia coli, the histidine kinase KdpD senses K+ availability, whereas the response regulator KdpE activates synthesis of the high-affinity K+ ...

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