Research News

On the front cover: Molecular dynamics involved in DNA compaction

DNA is packaged in the cell nucleus by wrapping around proteins called histones to form chromatin fibers. Nucleosomes, the structural units of these fibers, are formed by wrapping 146 base pairs of DNA around eight histones. Additional histone proteins, known as linker histones, bind to nucleosomes in a 1:1 ratio to form chromatosomes.  The study…

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Made by nature: a highly elastic pressurized balloon

Collagens constitute the dominant class of extracellular proteins in multicellular organisms. They are highly abundant wherever high elasticity is needed. The collagens of cnidarians, multicellular organisms among the oldest appearing on Earth and including jellyfish and sea anemones, are particularly fascinating. They structure the wall of the nematocyst, a balloon-shaped organelle, designed to naturally withstand…

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Turbulent times: When stars approach

HITS astrophysicists use new methods to simulate the common-envelope phase of binary stars, discovering dynamic irregularities that may help to explain how supernovae evolve. When we look at the night sky, we see stars as tiny points of light eking out a solitary existence at immense distances from Earth. But appearances are deceptive. More than…

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Award for Paper on Simulation of Flow Processes

SIAM Society honours research publication in the field of applied mathematics With one of the highest possible awards in the field of applied mathematics the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) has honoured the authors of a paper on computer-supported simulation of flow processes that appeared last year in one of the society’s five…

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Durch die ultraschnelle, aber zugleich gezielte Bindung rast der Rezeptor (goldfarben) durch die mit ungeordneten Proteinen gefüllte Pore in den Zellkern, während unerwünschte Moleküle ferngehalten werden. (Bild: Mercadante /HITS) The ultrafast and yet selective binding allows the receptor (gold) to rapidly travel through the pore filled with disordered proteins (blue) into the nucleus, while any unwanted molecules are kept outside. (Image: Mercadante /HITS)

In “Cell”: Floppy but fast

Inside cells, communication between the nucleus, which harbours our precious genetic material, and the cytoplasm is mediated by the constant exchange of thousands of signaling molecules and proteins. Until now, it was unknown how this protein traffic can be so fast and yet precise enough to prevent the passage of unwanted molecules. Through a combination…

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Universum: Simulationen am Supercomputer

This text is only available in German. Davon träumt die Wissenschaft: An einem Computer zu simulieren, wie sich das Universum bis heute entwickelt hat. Forscher aus Würzburg und Heidelberg wollen dem Traum jetzt näher kommen: Sie haben Rechenzeit im Wert von knapp fünf Millionen Euro auf einem Supercomputer bewilligt bekommen. Der Würzburger Mathematiker Professor Christian…

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Spindle pole body bridge on the front cover

HITS scientists Musa Özboyaci and Prof. Rebecca Wade (MCM group) have performed calculations that help to understand the process of cell division in yeast. In a multidisciplinary study conducted together with researchers at the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH) and at Frankfurt University, the team led by Prof. Elmar Schiebel (ZMBH) revealed…

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How Human Cells Can Dissolve Damaging Protein Aggregates

Heidelberg researchers decode fundamental mechanism using in-vitro experiments Cellular repair systems can dissolve aggregated proteins and now Heidelberg researchers have successfully decoded the fundamental mechanism that is key to dissolving these protein aggregates in human cells. Their in-vitro experiments uncovered a multi-stage biochemical process in which protein molecules are dissolved from the aggregates. Researchers at…

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