The study, directed by the center’s director Giulio Superti-Furga, appears today in the online advanced publication route of the journal Nature Immunology. The newly discovered protein, termed AIM2, patrols the inside of human immune cells and when it encounters a DNA that is suspicious, possibly coming from an intruding virus or bacterium, triggers the secretion of the signaling protein Interleukin-1.
This proinflammatory molecule activates an anti-invasion alarm program throughout the entire body. It is one of the main causes of fever and a central mediator of autoimmune disease. Thus, the study identified a new centerpiece of the human’s defense arsenal against pathogens.
“We are excited about this molecule as it helps understand the body’s immediate reaction to infections. It is much too early to say, but in the future AIM2 could lead to ways to enhance the patients’ own protection when this is needed, as during epidemics or when otherwise immune depressed”, stresses Tilmann Bürckstümmer, the first author of the study.
The results derived from a large scale, systematic search for human proteins that bind pathogenic molecules. Three other groups from Worcester, Philadelphia and Adelaide report the identification of the same protein in parallel publications appearing in the journals Nature and Science. This fact stresses the importance of the discovery made at CeMM.
“I am very proud that our new research center could contribute to such a fundamental immunology finding. It shows that CeMM as an Austrian research organization competes in the top-league of international research only a few years after being founded and before entering its new building. We are eager to collaborate with our clinical partners at the Medical University of Vienna to investigate if malfunction of the protein may be associated with autoimmune disease, when too much inflammatory signals are produced”, adds Giulio Superti-Furga.
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy