Fulvia Bono, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, as well as Wolfram Antonin and Michael Hothorn, both Max Planck research group leaders at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory in Tübingen, will each be awarded a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC).
Messenger RNA is combined with certain proteins to form particles, the so-called mRNP complexes. In the fruit fly Drosophila, the localization of these complexes determines the formation of the embryo’s body axis. Fulvia Bono wants to understand the function of the mRNP systems at a mechanistic level and gain deeper insight into the connection between genes and outer appearance of organisms.
During cell division, the DNA has to be contracted up to 50 times in the chromosomes to a transport form. After the formation of the new daughter cells, the DNA is unpacked again for transcription and replication. Wolfram Antonin had noticed that, while the packing of the DNA is a well-studied process, little is known of DNA decondensation. “It is possible,” the scientist says, “that DNA decondensation is a passive process, as if a clip around the DNA thread is released and the DNA just relaxes.” However, initial experiments hint at an active process. Wolfram Antonin wants to investigate this process and the proteins involved.“This is a high-risk research project, since we cannot say anything about the outcome. This is special about the ERC grants, that the sponsor trusts the skills of the scientists themselves and funds promising project ideas,” he says. Wolfram Antonin obtained his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen in 2001. After receiving post-doctoral training at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, he joined the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory in 2006.
Janna Eberhardt | idw
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