Do it yourself – kinase activation revisited
The transmission of information in cells often involves the modification of proteins by the addition of phosphate groups, a process termed phosphorylation. Phosphorylation is catalyzed by protein kinases, which themselves often require phosphorylation for their activation. Some kinases auto-activate by phosphorylating their own activation loop, a process that is usually accomplished by a second copy of the same protein. In work published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the lab of Thomas Leonard has discovered, unexpectedly, that protein kinase D (PKD) activates itself without the need for another copy of PKD.
Stressing out the immune system
During infection, specialized cells of our innate immune system mount an immediate response to combat invading pathogens. The activation of these immune cells by interferon signaling is key to the resolution of infection. How interferon signaling interacts with other cellular signaling pathways is unclear. The lab of Thomas Decker has now studied the interaction between interferon and stress signaling. Their findings, published in Science Signaling, show that cross-talk between the two pathways modulates immunity in response to infections.
Grant strengthens life science IT infrastructure at the Max Perutz Labs
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research has awarded a ‘Data Life’ grant to the Max Perutz Labs and the University of Vienna. The €1.9 million grant will be used to provide high-performance data storage capacity over the next few years.
Coping with chromosomal stress
Chromosomal instability (CIN) is detrimental for cellular fitness and is a hallmark of the majority of solid tumors. How cells adjust to this instability to ensure survival is poorly understood. The lab of Christopher Campbell has now studied the long-term adaptation to CIN using yeast cells. They found that cells accumulate mutations over time that help them to alleviate the negative effects of CIN. The work is published in The EMBO Journal.
Portrait of a protein family
SPOC domains are protein domains found across eukaryotes. SPOC containing proteins are associated with transcription regulation, development and differentiation. In their latest study, the lab of Dea Slade has now studied all known SPOC containing human proteins. They discovered that the SPOC domain is universally able to read phosphorylation marks in the C-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II, but that subfamilies of SPOC proteins recognize different patterns of CTD marks and bind to additional proteins. The study is published in Nature Communications.
Punching holes in the nucleus
Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) are the gateways between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. How the individual components assemble into a functional pore is not understood. In a new study, published in Nature, Max Perutz Labs group leader Shotaro Otsuka and the lab of Jan Ellenberg (European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL) provide the first step-by-step guide to NPC assembly. In the future, their approach could be applied to investigate the assembly mechanisms of other molecular machines in the cell.
New funding for Max Perutz Labs scientists
The Austrian Science Fund FWF has allocated €2 million in funding to a joint doc.funds initiative coordinated by Javier Martinez. The course will provide training to doctoral students in RNA biology and includes scientists from the Max Perutz Labs, the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA), the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), the Gregor Mendel Institute (GMI), and the Medical University of Vienna. Congratulations also to Sebastian Falk, who is part of a Weave Cross Border project and Gijs Versteeg, who has been awarded a stand-alone project grant.
Sebastian Falk joins EMBO Young Investigator program
Group leader Sebastian Falk has been named a ‘Young Investigator’ for the next four years by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). The program offers funding, extensive networking, and career development activities for junior faculty who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields.
ERC Starting Grant awarded to Kelly Swarts
Congratulations to Kelly Swarts, group leader at the Gregor Mendel Institute and the Max Perutz Labs Vienna, who has been awarded a Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) for her project “Tree Ring Genomics”. This grant will fund the Swarts lab’s work on the adaptive responses of forest trees to climate change. The ERC is the most prestigious, and highly competitive, funding body for basic research within the European Union.
Max on the wall
Murals create opportunities for bold, highly visible statements. Over the last few decades street art has come a long way from an act of rebellion to a respected form of art. A large mural picturing the Austrian-British Nobel Prize winner Max Perutz and his science has just been completed on the facade of the Max Perutz Labs by the artist duo Käthe Schönle and Sebastian Schager, in collaboration with the art & science project ‘WIENERWISSEN’.
FWF grants awarded to Max Perutz Labs scientists
Congratulations to group leaders Roland Foisner, Martin Leeb, and Thomas Leonard who have received funding from the Austrian Science Fund FWF amounting to a total of €1,640,000. The funded projects will deal with gene regulation, cell fate decisions, and signal transduction.
Old drugs new tricks
Group leader Jörg Menche is part of Repo4EU, a platform for mechanism-based drug repurposing. The consortium, which includes 28 partners from 10 countries, has recently been awarded a 23 million Euro grant by the European Union under the Horizon Europe program. Jörg’s lab will receive €660,000 and will contribute their expertise in molecular network biology.