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Immune boost against the corona virus

In Germany, a vaccine candidate will be tested for its effectiveness against infections with SARS-CoV-2

24-Mar-2020

The course of the corona pandemic will strongly depend on how quickly medications or vaccines against the SARS co-virus 2 can be developed. In at least one Phase III study, researchers want to investigate whether the vaccine candidate VPM1002, originally developed against tuberculosis by ...

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Sustainable use of CO2 using a modified bacterium

13-Mar-2020

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm, led by Dr. Arren Bar-Even, has succeeded in reprogramming the diet of the bacterium E. coli in such a way that it can use formic acid or methanol as its sole source of nutrition. These simple organic ...

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Antibodies: the body’s own antidepressants

Antibodies can be a blessing or a curse to the brain - it all depends on their concentration

25-Feb-2020

If the immune system attacks its own body, it can often have devastating consequences: autoantibodies bind to the body’s structures, triggering functional disorders. The receptors for glutamate, a neurotransmitter, can also become the target of autoantibodies. Researchers at the Max Planck ...

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"Make two out of one" - Division of Artificial Cells

Scientists uncover a novel and generic mechanism for the division of artificial cells into two daughter cells

21-Feb-2020

The success of life on earth is based on the amazing ability of living cells to divide themselves into two daughter cells. During such a division process, the outer cell membrane has to undergo a series of morphological transformations that ultimately lead to membrane fission. Scientists at the ...

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Biological machine produces its own building blocks

Researchers have for the first time developed a genome the size of a minimal cell that can copy itself

18-Feb-2020

The field of synthetic biology does not only observe and describe processes of life but also mimics them. A key characteristic of life is the ability to ability for replication, which means the maintenance of a chemical system. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried ...

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In the right place at the right time

Scientists decipher the activation chain of protein degradation

17-Feb-2020

Proteins are molecular work horses in the cell that perform specific tasks, but it is essential that the timing of protein activities is exquisitely controlled. When proteins have fulfilled their tasks, degradation of these proteins will end processes that are unneeded or detrimental. To control ...

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Let’s build a cell

Researchers engineer a minimal synthetic cellular system to study basic cell function

24-Jan-2020

Cells are the basic unit of life. They provide an environment for the fundamental molecules of life to interact, for reactions to take place and sustain life. However, the biological cell is very complicated, making it difficult to understand what takes place inside it. One way to tackle this ...

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Synchro swimmers under the microscope

New insights into collective movement of bacteria

20-Dec-2019

Not only birds, fish and even crowds of people show collective movement patterns, motile bacteria also form currents and vortices when their cell density exceeds a certain size. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg have now been able to show how swarm ...

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Protein injections in medicine

One day, medical compounds could be introduced into cells with the help of bacterial toxins

18-Dec-2019

Pathogens can use a range of toxins to damage their host organism. Bacteria, such as those responsible for causing the deadly Plague, use a special injection mechanism to deliver their poisonous contents into the host cell. Stefan Raunser, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular ...

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Self-restrained genes enable evolutionary novelty

22-Nov-2019

Changes in the genes that control development can potentially make large contributions to evolution by generating new morphologies in plants and animals. However, because developmental genes frequently influence many different processes, changes to their expression carry a risk of “collateral ...

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