Transposons are DNA sequences that can catalyze their own movement within and between genomes, and are a major source of species diversification. Uncontrolled, however, they are dangerous and can threaten the viability of an organism. In work just published in Nature, Max Perutz Labs group leader Sebastian Falk and his collaborator René Ketting (Institute of Molecular Biology, Mainz, Germany) describe the discovery of a new complex that regulates the activity of transposons in the nematode worm, C. elegans. The work exposes a potential molecular link between innate immune responses to invading pathogens and mechanisms that control transposable elements.
Our innate immune system provides the first line of defense against invading pathogens. However, hyperactivation of these defenses can lead to inflammatory syndromes such as arthritis. Controlling the transcriptional programs that drive the innate immune response is therefore critical. In work recently published in eLife, the Versteeg lab has identified a factor essential for the degradation of the transcription factor IRF1, a key driver of the innate immune response. The work establishes a cellular mechanism by which cells maintain IRF1 levels in a so-called ‘Goldilocks zone’, thereby guarding against IRF1-driven inflammation.
New group leader Irma Querques has received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to support her research project 'BROADCAST'. Irma and her team aim to better understand the mechanisms, functions and applications of transposons, bridging structural biology and biochemistry to biotechnology. The ERC Starting Grant is awarded to outstanding scientists starting their own independent research lab.
Scientists at CeMM, the Max Perutz Labs, and St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research Institute have achieved a significant advancement in the research of rare immune system disorders. Through a network-based approach, they have reclassified approximately 200 rare diseases. Initial comparisons with clinical data already demonstrate how this can enhance the prediction of treatment efficacy. Moreover, the study reveals for the first time the strong similarities between the molecular mechanisms of rare diseases and autoimmune and autoinflammatory conditions, such as chronic inflammatory bowel disorders, multiple sclerosis, and specific types of diabetes. The study has now been published in Science Advances.
Congratulations to Johannes Benedum, Elisabeth Holzer, and Alexandra Shulkina who have been awarded DOC Fellowships by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). Furthermore, congratulations to Anzhela Pavlova, who has received a BIF Fellowship from the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds. Both programs offer funding for highly qualified doctoral candidates. This year’s fellowships support projects on DNA repair mechanisms, regulation of RNA polymerases, and mammalian autophagy.
The cell nucleus is surrounded by a spherical double membrane called the nuclear envelope. Scientists have long been intrigued by how this envelope can be elastic enough to accommodate shape changes that cells experience as they move through tissues, but also rigid enough to maintain nuclear integrity. A study by Anete Romanauska and Alwin Köhler, published in Nature Cell Biology, uncovers that the chemistry of membrane lipids is key for this versatility. When this chemistry is perturbed, the nuclear membranes become stiff and prone to rupture, and nuclei lose their typical round shape and morph into a polyhedron.
The Max Perutz Labs are embedded in the Vienna BioCenter, providing access to outstanding core facilities shared by all members of the campus in addition to facilities unique to our institute.
With a strong molecular focus and a diversity of model organisms, we aim to bridge basic research with biomedicine.
To honour an extraordinary teacher and scientist, the Max Perutz Labs were named after Max Ferdinand Perutz, who, together with John C. Kendrew, was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies on the structure of globular proteins ...
The Max Perutz Labs are an international research institution in which people from all over the world come together to conduct scientific research. The Perutz recognizes and respects diversity as an important asset in establishing an inclusive and productive work environment for all parties, may it be students, scientists or support staff. We are committed to a workplace that values diversity and internationality, where people from various backgrounds and perspectives feel welcome and are supported in a safe environment. Whether it be race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, social background, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability - we aim to establish a community in which everyone feels included and is treated fairly and respectfully. We believe that there is always room for improvement and that a statement is worth nothing without action, but we continuously strive to do better and encourage every individual to play an active role in creating this environment.
The Max Perutz Labs seek to educate students to think critically and analytically, challenge them to set ambitious goals, and instill in them both broad horizons and deep understanding. In doing so, we aspire to furnish them with the necessary knowledge and skills to push forward the frontiers of 21st century biomedical science.