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25 Current news of MPI für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

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Keeping Sperm Cells on Track

Researchers point to a new mechanism underlying male infertility

11-Jan-2021

One essential component of each eukaryotic cell is the cytoskeleton. Microtubules, tiny tubes consisting of a protein called tubulin, are part of this skeleton of cells. Cilia and flagella, which are antenna-like structures that protrude from most of the cells in our body, contain many ...

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The genetic basis of bats’ superpowers revealed

First six reference-quality bat genomes released and analysed

24-Jul-2020

For the first time, the raw genetic material that codes for bats’ unique adaptations and superpowers such as the ability to fly, to use sound to move effortlessly in complete darkness, to survive and tolerate deadly diseases, to resist ageing and cancer - has been fully revealed. Bat1K, a global ...

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The lipid code

New chemical tools can control the concentration of lipids in living cells

21-Apr-2020

Lipids, or fats, have many functions in our body: They form membrane barriers, store energy or act as messengers, which regulate cell growth and hormone release. Many of them are also biomarkers for severe diseases. So far, it has been very difficult to analyze the functions of these molecules in ...

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The genetic secret of night vision

Compact DNA organization improves vision in nocturnal mammals

26-Feb-2020

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the vertebrate eye is its retina. Surprisingly, the sensitive portions of the photoreceptor cells are found on the hind side of the retina, meaning that light needs to travel through living neural tissue before it can be detected. While the origin of ...

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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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Cancer-like metabolism and human brain size evolution

Mechanism of action of human-specific brain size gene uncovered

08-Jan-2020

The size of the human brain increased profoundly during evolution. A certain gene that is only found in humans triggers brain stem cells to form a larger pool of stem cells. As a consequence, more neurons can arise, which paves the way to a bigger brain. This brain size gene is called ARHGAP11B ...

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Better diagnosis with 3D model of human liver tissue

Geometrical and functional liver model for improved diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

04-Dec-2019

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver with an insulin resistance due to causes other than alcohol intake. NAFLD includes a spectrum of liver diseases from simple steatosis (“non-progressive” and reversible) to non-alcoholic ...

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How cells stick together tightly

07-Nov-2019

Our organs are specialized compartments, each with its own milieu and function. To seal our organs, the cells in the tissue must form a barrier which is tight even down to the level of molecules. This barrier is formed by a protein complex that “sticks” all the cells together without any gaps. ...

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Liquid crystal liver

First and new realistic 3D model of the liver lobule since the year 1949

05-Jul-2019

The currently used simplified model of mammalian liver tissue can only show in a limited way how liver tissue is structured and formed. Almost 70 years later, researchers at the Max Planck Institutes of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics as well as for the Physics of Complex Systems together ...

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The Origin of Life in membraneless protocells

Researchers show that membraneless microdroplets are a great place for RNA concentration and activity to enable the origin of life

10-Oct-2018

How life arose from non-living chemicals more than 3.5 billion years ago on Earth is one of the deepest and still unanswered scientific questions. One hypothesis (RNA world hypothesis) assumes that RNA biomolecules were key players during this time (origin of life) as they carry genetic ...

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