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 Reconstructing the richness of pristine oceans funded by the ERC
28.10.2019 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht AI for Understanding and Modelling the Earth System – International Research Team wins ERC Synergy Grant
14.10.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Virus multiplication in 3D

Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies. Two studies now provide fascinating insights into their unusual propagation strategy at the atomic level.

For viruses to multiply, they usually need the support of the cells they infect. In many cases, only in their host’s nucleus can they find the machines,...

Im Focus: Cheers! Maxwell's electromagnetism extended to smaller scales

More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?

It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...

Im Focus: Highly charged ion paves the way towards new physics

In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.

Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...

Im Focus: Ultrafast stimulated emission microscopy of single nanocrystals in Science

The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.

Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...

Im Focus: How to induce magnetism in graphene

Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supporting structures of wind turbines contribute to wind farm blockage effect

13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Chinese team makes nanoscopy breakthrough

13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Tiny quantum sensors watch materials transform under pressure

13.12.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>