Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Proteins: It all depends on a correct folding plan - F.-Ulrich Hartl receives Heinrich Wieland Prize

27.10.2011
What do neurodegenerative diseases such as Chorea Huntington, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease have in common? They all occur more and more frequently in an aging society, and wrongly folded, clumped proteins play a central role in disease development.

Once scientists have successfully decoded the molecular mechanisms of protein folding, new approaches for prevention, diagnosis and therapy could emerge. The Heinrich Wieland Prize 2011 will be awarded to Prof. F.-Ulrich Hartl, director at the MPI of Biochemistry in Martinsried, for his pioneering work in the field of protein folding. The award is sponsored by the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and comes with a prize money of 50,000 Euros.

The award ceremony will take place on 27 October 2011 from 02.00 – 04.00 p.m. in the Baeyer Auditorium of the LMU Munich (Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, LMU Munich, Butenandtstr. 13, House F, Room FU 1,017, 81477 Munich). Journalists are cordially invited to join in the ceremony. Please register by e-mail to communications@bifonds.de.

Cells constantly produce thousands of different proteins involved in every bioprocess. Most proteins can only fulfill their biological functions – e.g. as enzymes in cell metabolism, antibodies in immune defense or structural proteins in the muscular system – when they adopt a defined, three-dimensional structure. Hartl’s pioneering work has changed our way of thinking of how proteins fold within cells. Contrary to the previously held view that all proteins fold spontaneously and of their own accord, the scientist developed a new concept – namely that protein folding is a complex process requiring the assistance of other proteins, known as chaperones.

Many chaperones belong to the stress or heat shock proteins. They not only facilitate the correct folding of newly synthesized proteins, but also step in during stress situations, for instance to repair any proteins that misfolded due to high temperatures. Furthermore, molecular chaperones now play an important role in biotechnology. Biotechnological companies use, for example, bacterial cells with an increased chaperone content to produce large amounts of active forms of proteins required for the production of drugs. The groundwork for this was provided, among other things, by one of Hartl’s discoveries – the “chaperonin”, a cylindrically formed molecule which folds proteins inside a protected chamber. In the past few years, Hartl has concentrated on the analysis of those neurodegenerative diseases that are characterized by the misfolding and aggregation of certain proteins.

“Professor Hartl’s research is a prime example of how basic research can find its way into biotechnological or medical application – in the long run, the results also have the potential to provide progress for the good of patients afflicted by such diseases”, declared Professor Dr. Konrad Sandhoff, chairman of the board of trustees of the Heinrich Wieland Prize.

Franz-Ulrich Hartl studied medicine and obtained his doctoral degree in Heidelberg in 1985. He then moved to the laboratory of Walter Neupert in Munich, where he first worked as a post-doc and then as a group leader. In 1991 he accepted a professorship in cell biology and genetics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell Medical College in New York. He returned to Germany in 1997 to take up his present postion as director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, near Munich.

The international Heinrich Wieland Prize (HWP), which comes with a prize money of 50,000 Euros, honours outstanding research on biologically active molecules and systems and its clinical impact in the areas of chemistry, biochemistry and physiology. It is named after the German chemist and Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Otto Wieland (1877 – 1957), who was professor of chemistry in Munich for many years. The prize has been awarded annually by an independent board of trustees since 1964. The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation assumed sponsorship of the prize in 2011. The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit-making foundation for the promotion of medical, biological, chemical and pharmaceutical research.

Media contacts:
Jürgen Lösch
Communication
Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation
Schlossmühle / Grabenstr. 46
55262 Heidesheim
Tel. +49 (0)6132 / 89 85 16
Fax +49 (0)6132 / 89 85 11
E-Mail: communications@bifonds.de
Anja Konschak
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Tel. +49 (0) 89 8578-2824
E-Mail: konschak@biochem.mpg.de

Anja Konschak | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.biochem.mpg.de
http://www.boehringer-ingelheim-stiftung.de/

More articles from Awards Funding:

nachricht RNA: a vicious pathway to cancer ?
14.08.2017 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Extensive Funding for Research on Chromatin, Adrenal Gland, and Cancer Therapy
28.06.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>