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for the seminar Series of the SFB 1064 please follow this link


Jul 7, 2017

Dragonboat Competition

Scientist of the Molecular Biology Division teamed up with other BMC colleagues for a paddling event on the Olympiasee.

Drachenboot

May 30/31, 2017

Retreat combined with Outreach.

During the last days of May the labs of the Molecular Biology Division were unusually quiet since most its inhabitants participated in their Annual Retreat. This years outing led them to the Salesian Abbey in Benediktbeuren, where they spent a day and a night with vivid discussion. The scientists discussed in small teams how to best explain their scientific passions and projects to the lay people. We are looking forward to seeing what they have come up with!

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January 31, 2017

Narrow escape

Three teams from the Becker group took the challenge to escape from mysterious rooms. They learned a lot and certainly had a lot of fun!

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January 21, 2017

Activation mechanism of an important chromatin remodeling ATPase revealed

Nucleosome remodeling enzymes can slide nucleosomes along DNA. But how are these enzymes regulated? A remodeling enzyme called ISWI becomes active when it interacts with a ‘tail’ region of a histone protein called H4. The Mueller-Planitz lab recently succeeded in mapping where the H4 tail binds to ISWI by combining protein cross-linking and mass spectrometry. In addition, they studied how the enzyme becomes active upon binding of the H4 tail. Evidence suggests that other remodeling enzymes have similar regulation mechanisms; therefore this method of controlling nucleosome remodeling may have been conserved throughout evolution.

eLife digest DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.21477.002
Article DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.21477

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November 23, 2016

New building blocks: nucleosomes as part of DNA origamis


The graduate student Corinna Lieleg (Korber group,BMC) and the Dietz group(TU Munich [link to Dietz group homepage: http://www.dietzlab.org/]) collaborated to incorporate nucleosomes into “DNA origami” nano-structures. Using a hinged two-beam DNA origami device as a molecular force spectrometer, the energy landscapes of nucleosome stacking and unwrapping could be measured in an unprecedentedly direct way (Funke*, Ketterer*, Lieleg* et al., 2016, Science Advances; Funke et al., 2016, Nano Letters).

Fig. 6 DNA origami

link to both papers:
http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/11/e1600974.figures-only
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b04169


November 18, 2016

Epic end of an era.

The Molecular Biology division said ‘fare well’ to Sandra Hake with a jolly carnival party, which only barely covered the sadness of seeing Sandra move on. Sandra had been a group leader for a decade and her rounded personality and scientific excellent has shaped our institute much. Sandra is now a Professor of Genetics in Giessen

hake_farewell


October 26, 2016

Epigenetics and neural cell death

In collaboration the Götz and the Schotta Lab have demonstrated how deregulation of an epigenetic mechanism that is active only in the early phases of neurogenesis triggers the subsequent death of neural cells.

 goetz_535_web

Cerebral cortex. Immunostained for Uhrf1 (neural stem cells, red). Picture: Vidya Ramesh

http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2016/goetz_epigenetik.html

 

October 20, 2016

Genomic nucleosome organization reconstituted with pure proteins


The graduate student Nils Krietenstein (Korber group, BMC), in close collaboration with the Pugh (Pennsylvania State University, USA) and Peterson (University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA) groups, succeeded in reconstituting in vivo-like promoter nucleosome patterns across the budding yeast genome with purified factors (Krietenstein*, Wal*, et al., 2016, Cell). This rather unique genome-wide biochemistry approach revealed the direct, specific and to a surprisingly large extent sufficient contribution of ATP-dependent nucleosome remodeling enzymes and so called barrier factors in setting up a dynamic, self-organizing ground-state of nucleosome positioning.

Fig. 2 graphical abstract Krietenstein et al 2016 Cell


link to LMU press release on same paper:
http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2016/korber_dnaverpackung.html

link to Cell paper and its preview:
http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)31390-3
http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)31330-7

 

 

August 31, 2016

Telling the chromosomes apart

A fruitful collaboration between researchers in the Becker group and the BMC Bioinformatics unit made a significant step towards solving the long-standing mystery of how regulation of X chromosone ‘dosage compensation’ is restricted to the X chromosome. In their article published in Nature they describe how the dosage compensation machinery reads out subtleties of DNA shape to distinguish the X chromosome from the autosomes.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature19338.html
http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2016/becker_dosiskompensation.html
http://www.uni-muenchen.de/forschung/news/2016/becker_dosiskompensation.html

MSL2JILmerge


August 10, 2016

Following the European championship

the soccer aficionados in Molecular Biology sorted it out. The picture shows the winners of the table soccer ‘kicker’ tournament.

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July 21, 2016

Our favourite day

of the year is ‘Chromatin Day’!
This day-long Chromatin Symposium is organised by the DFG-funded research network ‘Chromatin Dynamics’. 150 chromatin researchers came together to exchange the most exciting results and then made friends at the barbecue.

chromatin_day_2016_small


July 14, 2016

A strong team

The runners from ‘Molecular Biology’ immersed in a sea of some 30,000 runners at the B2run Company Run. The picture shows them still fresh before leaving for the Olympia Stadium.

IMG_1038

 

July 14, 2016

Support for risky research

The German Research Council (DFG) decided to fund a research proposal by Peter B. Becker under their presti Reinhart-Koselleck Programme. This programme enables outstanding researchers with a proven scientific track record to pursue exceptionally innovative, higher-risk projects.

lmu_pbecker_9251

http://www.med.uni-muenchen.de/forschung/aktuell/reinhart-koselleck/index.html


May 17, 2016

LMU News

Endogenous retroviruses - Lethal reawakening

dna_norman-blue_260_web

(Picture: norman blue / Fotolia.com)

http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2016/schotta_setdb1.html

http://www.uni-muenchen.de/forschung/news/2016/schotta_setdb.html

 

March 12, 2016

We are family

A good number of Molecular Biology Alumni met on the occasion of the ‘Chromatin Dynamics’ meeting. This was a good opportunity to exchange recent developments and to explore the new research building.

2016-03-11 15.32.28-1 (1)

The picture shows present and past members (top row from left: Matthias Prestel, Philipp Korber, Ragnhild Eskeland, Tobias Straub, Asifa Akhtar, Gernot Längst, Axel Imhof, Jörn Böke, Peter Becker, Karim Bouazoune; bottom row: Alexander Brehm, Annalisa Izzo, Catherine Regnard, Charlotte Grimaud)


March 10, 2016

Dynamic Chromatin Symposium

The scientists of the Molecular Biology Division joined some 350 chromatin afficionados for a vibrant two-day Symposium on Chromatin Dynamics. The meeting was organised by the local Collaborative Research Center 1064 funded by the DFG. The superb list of international speakers and about 120 excellent posters made these days a most memorable experience.

http://www.sfb1064.med.uni-muenchen.de/events/news/chromatin_symposium_2016/index.html

poster_chromatin_dynamics_2016


March 1, 2016

A new Academician

Peter B. Becker was elected to become member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The Academy was founded in 1759 by Kurfürst Maximilian III Joseph von Bayern.

https://www.badw.de/de/


January 26, 2016

LMU News

Drosophila in midlife crisis

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Drosophila

http://www.uni-muenchen.de/forschung/news/2016/imhof_alterung.html


Mapping polymerase modifications

 dna_535_web

 Grafik: Sergey Nevens / fotolia.com

http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2016/imhof_polymerase.html

http://www.uni-muenchen.de/forschung/news/2016/imhof_proteinmodifikationen.html


December 15, 2015

Xmas party takes off.

xmas2015_small

Yes, the bridge works well for festive and jolly celebrations! The first Xmas party of the Molecular Biology division in the new premises happened on the nicely decorated bridge with the may pole transformed by season’s decoration.


November 11, 2015

Fresh looks at our research

Picture retreat

The Becker group retreated to the Benedicine abbay Frauenwörth on the beautiful island of Frauenchiemsee for a two-day discussion of future research directions.


October 26, 2015

Biomedical Center inaugurated

In a most memorable festive event the Biomedical Center was officially inaugurated.
Many had come to be addressed by Bavarian Minister President Seehofer and Federal Minster of Education Wanka.

inauguration1

The new BMC Auditorium Maximum was well filled.

inauguration 2

The keys for the BMC were handed over from the constructors to the University.
(from left to right: ): Heinrich Hofmann, Major of the city of Planegg; Peter B. Becker, first Acting Director of the BMC; Gero Hoffmann, Director of the Staatliches Bauamt München II; Horst Seehofer, Minister President of Bavaria; Bernd Huber, President of the LMU; Ludwig Spänle, Bavarian Minister for Education, Science and Arts.


September 21/22, 2015

Wies’n fun

IMG_7129

This year’s distinguished Octoberfest Lecture of the Chromatin Research Center (SFB 1064) was held by Wendy Bickmore (Edinburgh). Wendy then experienced ‚the real thing’ as she joined the Molecular Biology crowd to their traditional ‚Wies’n’ event.


July 27, 2015

Chromatin day - what a day!

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For the 6th time about 150 local chromatin researchers met to present their most exciting data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

chromatinday

They also warmed the new small lecture of the BMC, which seats 300.
The day ended with a pleasant BBQ at BMC front.


July 25, 2015

Insights into chromatin regulation

The LMU magazine ‘Einsichten’ published a story about Peter Becker’s research on gene regulation through subtle tuning of chromatin structure.

lmu_pbecker_9251

download the article at
http://www.uni-muenchen.de/aktuelles/medien/einsichten/archiv/2015_01.pdf


July 16, 2015

B2run - some want it hot

A strong troup of molecular biology runners joined the LMU team for the B2run event at 32 degrees.

b2run2015

The picture shows them before the run.

see more at:
http://www.uni-muenchen.de/einrichtungen/zuv/uebersicht/komm_presse/verteiler/bilder/bildergalerien/b2run/index.html


July 6, 2015

A strong move, at last!

In a great haul the Molecular Biology Department moved into their new premises in the Biomedical Center.

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The building is air-conditioned!

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May 26, 2015

Silence is golden

The Schotta group uncovered a novel role for the Atrx protein in silencing retroviral genomes.

retroviren_nobeastsofierce_fotolia_535_web

Artist’s impression of the structure of a retroviral particle (Source: nobeastsofierce / fotolia.com)

German:

http://www.uni-muenchen.de/forschung/news/2015/schotta_retroviren.html

English:

http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2015/schotta_retroviruses.html


February 10, 2015

Beauty and Beast

and many other strange creatures had fun at this year’s Carnival Party of the Molecular Biology Department.

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January 8, 2015

Cracking the code

Our genes are packed in the nucleus of cells in a complicated structure termed chromatin. The DNA is wrapped around molecular spools made of histone proteins. The tightness of packaging in chromatin largely depends on chemical modifications that change the properties of histones. Researchers from the groups of Becker and Imhof now teamed up to quantitatively assess the prevalence of many histone modification motifs as well as the contributions of the enzymes that bring it about. Their ‘Global and Specific responses of the Histone Acetylome to Systematic perturbation’ has just been published in the Journal ‘Molecular Cell’.

cracking

Further reading and information:

Original Article:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1097276514009575

LMU Press release: The epigenetic switchboard
http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/press-services/press-releases/2015/becker_epigenik.html


December 16, 2014

Living Christmas trees

An exciting year of high caliber research and intense teaching was celebrated at the Institute’s Xmas party. Following a successful tradition those lab members who had joined the teams during the passed year organised a most memorable evening for their colleagues. The event culminated in a competition between teams to create most imaginative Christmas trees using their colleagues as scaffolds.

christmas_tree


October 21, 2014

Retreat Tradition

The monastery Neustift In Bressanone (Brixen) once again served as an ideal site for a 2.5-day retreat of the Molecular Biologists.

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Presentations and discussions revolved around grand topics: Good scientific practice, good statistical analysis, publishing and peer review, just to name a few. The Domino game (picture) showed that everyone in the institute is connected through common interests, symbolized by molecules, processes or methods.

retreat2014_2


July 30, 2014

Chromatin day

News 2014 Chromatin Day

Chromatin Day has become a tradition in Munich that no one would want to miss. More than 150 registered participants met for a day of intense discussions of the most exciting results in chromatin research. The day also provided an ideal forum to test new ideas, find collaborators or just have a good time with nice people with similar mind-set!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 July 16, 2014

Catch summer while it lasts!

Was it really one of the last warm days that we took off for an afternoon of Barbecue, games, chatting and swimming at Lake Feringa, North of Munich?

News 2014 BBQ


July 15, 2014

Chromatin research on the run

Seventeen members of the ‘Molecular Biology’ Institute joined some 500 runners of the LMU to participate in the annual ‘B2run’ company run at the Olympia Park. It was a very special experience to be part of a crowd of 30,000 runners and finishing the run in the scenic stadium.

news_2014_b2run

http://www.uni-muenchen.de/aktuelles/news/2014/b2run_2014.html


May 6, 2014

Wissenschaft für Jedermann: Peter Becker explains Epigenetics

talkMayMPI2014

Peter Becker discussed the topic of ‘Epigenetics’ with an interested lay audience at the Max Planck Institutes in Martinsried. To which extent do nutrition and environment leave lasting ‘imprints’ in our genome that twist our metabolism? Becker explained why this question is interesting and why it is so difficult to answer. The lecture was part of a series of popular lectures ‘Wissenschaft für Jedermann’ organized and hosted by the Max-Planck-Institutes, where researchers from the Science Campus Martinsried/Großhadern explain their research to the residential neighbours.

http://www.biochem.mpg.de/news/publicseminars/wiss_jed

http://www.biochem.mpg.de/3107428/2014_Programm_WissenschftJedermann_komplett.pdf


February 13, 2014

Research Vision – Strategy – Tactics

The Group Leaders of the Molecular Biology Unit retreated for two days’ discussions to Aschau, a small town in the Chiemgau an hour off Munich. After 20 hours of vivid discussions they returned full of new ideas and insight.

gl_retreat2014

The picture shows Sandra Hake, Ralph Rupp, Felix Müller-Planitz, Axel Imhof, Philipp Korber, Gunnar Schitta, Peter Becker and Tobias Straub.


January 3, 2013

Axel Imhof organises conference on nuclear proteomics

In May 2014 Axel Imhof is organising a EMBO/FEBS lecture course on nuclear proteomic on the greek island of Kos. This Course is unique in that it focuses on nuclear proteomics and data integration in order to enhance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that mediate epigenetic processes. For more information and registration see http://www.nuclearproteomics.org

 

January 2, 2013

A Centromeric Complex Mediated Species Separation

thomae_devcell2013Hybrid males produced by crosses between these two species are inviable, while the female hybrids are viable but sterile. Axel Imhof’s group has now shown that the proteins encoded by the genes Hmr and Lhr form a molecular complex, which binds to the centromeric regions of chromosomes, i.e., at the site of the typical constriction found in paired sister chromosomes prior to cell division, and play an important role in chromosome segregation later in cell division. The problem for the hybrids lies in the fact that, although both D. melanogaster and D. simulans synthesize HMR and LHR proteins, they make these gene products in very different amounts.

Further information and comments in

http://www.cell.com/developmental-cell/abstract/S1534-5807%2813%2900578-9

http://www.cell.com/developmental-cell/abstract/S1534-5807%2813%2900668-0

 

December 17, 2013

Great Food, Fun and Follies at the Xmas party

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After a perfect buffet dinner this year’s Christmas party morphed into a firework of quiz and music shows that closed a great and successful working year.

Thanks to all those colleagues who had joined our institute during the past year for a perfect organisation of this joyful and memorable evening!

 

September 24, 2013

Octoberfest Lecture and Fun

wiesn2013

Many alumni joined the members of the lab for singing, dancing and – yes - drinking at the traditional Octoberfest outing. This year’s special guest was Frank Pugh (PennState University), who had been awarded the honor to give the ‘Octoberfest Lecture’ to the members of the Collaborative Research Center on 'Chromatin Dynamics' (SFB 1064) on the day before the Wies’n event. The picture shows members of Sandra Hake’ team in full swing.

 

September 20, 2013

Sandra Hake and Philipp Korber were selected to contribute an article on epigenetics for Atomic Culture

Atomic Culture is an European Union platform in collaboration with major European newspapers (like Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung or El Pais) to communicate basic science to the public (www.atomicculture.org). This article was posted on the web pages of Atomic Culture (http://atomiumculture.eu/content/gifts-beyond-genes-ancestors%E2%80%99-lifestyle-biological-heritage-1), The Irish Times (link expired) and in a blog of El Pais (http://blogs.elpais.com/atomium-culture/2013/03/gifts-beyond-genes-ancestors-lifestyle-as-biological-heritage.html).

 

July 29, 2013

Adventures on the river Isar!

hake_retreat_july13bhake_retreat_july13a

 

 

 

 

 

 

The groups of Hake and Korber (the famous “North Lab”) escaped sticky and hot lab rooms for a day of fun on and in the river Isar. Tackling “dangerous” cataracts, crashing into overhanging trees and branches, encountering diverse forms of wild-life and having a picnic at the beautiful shore with delicious meatballs, veggies and fruits completed a gorgeous day.

 

July 26, 2013

Chromatin Day again!

chromatin_day2013Some 150 researchers gathered together for an exciting day of talks on the hottest stories from the wider ‘Chromatin community’ in Munich. Traditionally, Chromatin Day features the Annual Report Meeting of the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centers ‘Assembly and inheritance of functional states’ (until end of 2012) and ‘Chromatin Dynamics’ (starting in fall of 2013). During the years Chromatin Day has evolved into an inclusive platform for vivid exchange of ideas, news, protocols and the latest gossip within the wider chromatin community in Munich.

 

 

 



July 26, 2013

Hairpin undone

paper_maeneerMale fruit flies have one X chromosome per cell, females have two. So genes on the male X must work twice as hard to produce the same amount of protein as its female counterparts. Researcher in the team of Becker team now found a new switch involved in making this possible. It consists of a hairpin structure of a non-coding RNA that needs to be unwound by an RNA helicase to initiate the assembly of a regulatory RNA-protein complex. Maenner et al., Molecular Cell 51, 174 (2013)

 

Comments in

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23870139

http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2013/f-m-56-13.html

 

 


June 17, 2013

Out of the lab and into the sun!

retreat_becker250613

The groups of Becker and Müller-Planitz spent a hot and sunny day hiking up from Herrsching at Lake Ammersee to the monastery of Andechs, which is well known for its beer specialities. Walking and talking - several new lab members got to know better their future lab mates. The afternoon brought refreshments in the form of icecream and fresh lake water.

 

May 27 2013

Time-out – time to reflect

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The molecular biologists took the time to reflect on the roles of scientists in our society during their retreat to the old abbey ‘Neustift’ in Brixen (Bressanone) (May 27-29). Especially the sessions on ‘Scientists in conflict’ and ‘Scientists against society’ revealed the complex relationship of scientist in society, between ethos and expectation, freedom of research and ’work for hire’. This year’s guest speaker, Prof. Holger Andreas (Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU) introduced the molecular biologists to basic concepts of logic and current research efforts to formalise scientific theory. An afternoon was dedicated to hiking, rafting, biking and exploring the old town of Brixen.

 

May 24 2013

10 Million Euros for Chromatin Research in Munich

logo_CRC1064_130

The German Research Foundation (DFG) will provide funding for a new Collaborative Research Centre (CRC 1064) on ‘Chromatin Dynamics’ in Munich. The CRC coordinates the research of 17 principal investigators homed in the faculties of Medicine, Biology and Chemistry & Pharmacy of the LMU as well as in the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry and in the Helmholtz Zentrum München. The spokesperson and coordinator of the CRC is Peter B. Becker. With seven funded projects (PIs: Becker, Hake, Imhof, Korber, Müller-Planitz, Rupp and Schotta) the Molecular Biology Unit serves as a hub for research on Chromatin Dynamics in Munich.

The CRC focuses on fundamental aspects of chromatin dynamics. It aims at understanding principles and mechanisms that endow chromatin organisation with diversity, flexibility and plasticity to respond to environmental and developmental cues. CRC research strives for an integrated understanding of chromatin structure and function from atomic resolution, via molecular interactions and mechanism to finally reach the microscopically resolvable structures of nuclei in physiological settings.

The CRC will take up its activities in October 2013 and will be supported with close to 10 million € over the course of the next four years. In addition to enabling individual projects, the funds also support core facilities in the areas of ‘Bioinformatics’, ‘Advanced Light Microscopy’, ‘Proteomics’ and ‘Monoclonal Antibodies’ and finance a Graduate Programme.

Contact: Peter B. Becker

Press releases

http://www.dfg.de/service/presse/pressemitteilungen/2013/pressemitteilung_nr_16/index.html

http://www.uni-muenchen.de/forschung/news/2013/f-29-13.html

http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2013/f-m-42-13.html

 

April 19, 2013

Schotta group identifies a novel mechanism for correct cell division

Cell proliferation requires doubling of the genetic information and proper distribution to the daughter cells. Malfunction leads to cell death or cancer. Gunnar Schotta and colleagues identified a novel mechanism which is important to segregate faithfully chromosomes into the daughter cells. After DNA duplication, the duplicated chromosomes are kept together by a proteinous ring known as cohesin. Before cell division cohesin is cut and the duplicated chromosomes are equally distributed to the daughter cells. The Schotta team identified the chromatin factor Suv4-20h2 as key to correctly position the cohesin ring. Future studies will address whether cancer cells indeed show cohesin misregulation by Suv4-20h2, providing it as a potential cancer biomarker.  (Genes and Development, April 18 2013)

see  LMU press release

 

March 22, 2013

Axel Imhof participates in public discussion on epigenetics

Is there inheritence beyond the genetic informaiton encoded in the DNA sequence? Can we influence inheritence by our lifestyle? Are you what your grandmother ate?

Professor Axel Imhof participated in a public discussion on the scientific basis and the public perception of epigenetics (November 2012, Oslo).

see youtube link

 

March 20, 2013

Hans-Gustav KlobeckWe mourn the loss of our dear colleague and friend, Prof. Dr. Gustav Klobeck, who on March 4, unexpectedly passed away due to a heart failure. Gustav did his research towards a medical doctor’s degree in 1977/78 and has been a valued member of the institute since 1982.

We miss him a lot.

 

 

January 31, 2013

Rupp group deciphers novel pathway for silencing pluripotency associated POU-V genes

The quest of modern developmental biology is a detailed molecular description of the process that leads from the fertilized egg to the complex and highly differentiated adult organism. This process is controlled largely on the level of gene expression. While early embryonic cells are pluripotent and capable of transcribing most of their genome, older cells have become committed to the germ layer and differentiation programs during gastrulation. They express then a subset of genes compatible with their future physiological function. Young, pluripotent cells and post-gastrula, committed cells express different networks of transcription factors and contain chromatin of different structure and composition. How these two regulatory layers are interconnected during development is incompletely understood. We describe a novel and unexpected link between the pluripotency-associated POU-V gene Oct-25 and xSuv4-20h histone methyltransferases. XSuv4-20h enzymes are required to repress the Oct-25 gene, a homolog of mammalian Oct4, in the neuroectoderm of frog embryos as a prerequisite for neural differentiation. Consistently, murine Suv4-20h double-null ES cells show increased Oct4 protein levels before and during in vitro differentiation and display compromised differentiation in comparison to wild-type ES cells. Thus, Suv4-20h enzymes control specific POU-V genes and are involved in germ-layer specific differentiation.

More information: Rupp Group Website

 

December 2, 2012

Müller-Planitz and Becker groups discover a novel mechanism for nucleosome remodeling

The genetic material in the cell nucleus is coiled around histone proteins, giving rise to a so-called nucleosome. Packaging the DNA into nucleosomes permits the long fibers of DNA to fit into the nucleus,  helps to protect them from breakage and allows the cell to regulate gene activity. However, nucleosomal DNA is inaccessible to a range of enzymes that are responsible for the read-out of the genetic information. The cells therefore evolved  nucleosome remodeling enzymes, which solve the problem by repositioning the entire nucleosome on the DNA. The Müller-Planitz and Becker groups now joined forces to uncover the mechanism behind this reaction (see Figure).

ISWI MechanismFigure: Remodeling mechanism of the nucleosome remodeling enzyme ISWI. Histones and DNA form multiple contacts with varying strengths within the nucleosome particle (black clamps). The ATPase domain of ISWI attaches to histones, for example the histone H4 N-terminus (I). Upon ATP hydrolysis, the ATPase domain translocates DNA relative to the histones, thereby distorting the nucleosome structure and disrupting DNA-histone interactions in the vicinity of SHL2 (II). With the strongest histone-DNA contacts destabilized, the histones rearrange relative to DNA to optimize interactions, forming a novel set of contacts and thus a repositioned nucleosome (red clamps; III).

more information: LMU press release  Müller-Planitz Group Website Fulltext (pdf)

 

Oktober 18, 2012

Becker group describes new enzymatic activity

How do cells ensure that the components of a protein complex are produced in the appropriate amounts?  Becker and his team were able to demonstrate that, in the fruit fly Drosophila, the ribonucleoprotein complex DCC is equipped with an autoregulatory sensor and effector system that detects and corrects imbalances in the relative amounts of its various subunits. They discovered that one core element of the complex, the protein MSL2, possesses an ubiquitin ligase activity which attaches ubquitin to surplus subunits thereby marking them for degradation.

see press release: http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2012/2012_becker.html

 

September 25, 2012

Imhof group discovers mechanism for euchromatin formation

 Accessibility of chromatin plays an important role in the control of genes and has to be maintained. But how is chromatin accessibility regulated on genome wide scale ? The research team of Axel Imhof and his collaborator Gernot Längst in Regensburg could show that a heterogenous pool of short, single-stranded RNAs can keep chromatin in an open, accessible state. This class of chromatin-associated RNA is stably linked to chromatin and largely composed of snoRNAs. They further discovered a mechanism in Drosophila in which those RNAs and a protein called Decondensation factor 31 form an RNA-protein network that is involved in the formation of euchromatin. Analysis of chromatin associated RNAs in human cells also reveals a strong enrichment of snoRNAs, implying a conserved role for these molecules in higher-order structures of chromatin.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23022379

 

September 25, 2012

O'zapft is!

wiesn2012_1

The Molecular Biology Unit had fun at their traditional lab outing to the Oktoberfest. New lab members were initiated and had the opportunity to meet alumni in this very special, communicative setting. Special guest for this year's event was Prof. Genevieve Almouzni (Institut Curie, Paris), who had been awarded the 'Oktoberfest Lecture Award' of the Munich Chromatin Community. Genevieve's Oktoberfest lecture entitled 'Chromatin as play-doh: Joys 'R' us' on September 24 was well attended.

 

July 27, 2012

CHROMATIN DAY!

The Munich chromatin community gathered at the BioCenter LMU for an intense day of scientific presentations revolving around chromatin structure and function. Annual Chromatin Days are organised by the local Collaborative Research Center SFB TR5. They provide a forum for all those interested in high-level chromatin research. This year, some 150 scientists gathered to learn about the latest findings of the local chromatin groups. Presentations are mostly by senior PhD students or postdoctoral fellows, who appreciate the opportunity to present their work in a larger format. The quality of the presentations compared favorably to some international conferences on the topic. After four intense sessions the day ended with a sunny BBQ in the backyard of the BioCenter.







July 24, 2012

Celebrating progress building the Biomedical Center

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The topping-out ceremony illustrated the impressive progress building the new Biomedical Center (BMC), the future home of the Molecular Biology Unit. The festive guests were addressed by the Bavarian Minister for internal affairs, Mr. Herrmann, the President of the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Prof. Huber, the representative of the BMC scientists, Prof. Becker and the major of the town of Planegg, Ms Detsch. With its 150 Mio € budget the BMC is the largest construction project of a research institute in Germany at present.

The Molecular Biology Unit as well as 7 sister units of the Medical faculty will move into their new premises in the fall of 2014.

Links

http://www.abi.med.uni-muenchen.de/institut/bmc/index.html

http://www.bio-m.org/news/richtfest-am-biomedizinischen-zentrum.html

http://www.m4.de/news/richtfest-am-biomedizinischen-zentrum.html

http://www.merkur-online.de/lokales/planegg/biomedizinisches-centrum-minister-erwartet-grosse-erfolge-2430460.html

 

July 19, 2012

Molecular Biology Scientist, Antonia Jack, is the fastest woman at the LMU

b2run
B2RUN starters: (top row) Jörn Böke, Clemens Bönisch, Peter Becker, Silvia Härtel, (bottom row) Axel Imhof, Antonia Jack, Matthias Hahn


Together with 6 colleagues including the institute head, Peter Becker, Antonia started at this years B2RUN in the Olympia Park, Munich. Taking incredible 26:23 min for the 6,2 km course she was ranked place 1 among all LMU female starters (Pos. 45 overall; 8506 starters).
Completing this excellent result, Peter Becker finished the B2RUN as second best in the subcategory "Best Boss" (time 29:41 min).
All other starters from the institute performed equally well and did finish the run partly with personal best times.

Links:
http://www.uni-muenchen.de/einrichtungen/zuv/uebersicht/betriebsaerztl_dienst/aufgaben/b2run/wertung_b2run/index.html

http://www.b2run.de/muenchen/

 

June 29, 2012

Hake honoured for outstanding research

habil_4

Sandra Hake’s work was honoured by the award of the ‘Habilitationsförderpreis’, sponsored by the ‘Münchner Universitätsgesellschaft’ in a festive act on the occasion of the 540th ‘Stiftungsfest’ of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University.

 

June 24, 2012

Imhof successful in Stategra application

stategra

Axel Imhof is a member of the newly funded STategra, an EU funded network that  aims to develop new statistical methods and tools for the integrative analysis of diverse omics data for a more efficient use of the various -omics technologies and to make them readily available to the research community through rapid and efficient implementation as user-friendly software packages

http://stategra.eu/

 

June 1, 2012

Imhof elected external faculty member at UC Irvine

Axel Imhof was elected external faculty member of the newly funded Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism (CEM) at the University of California Irvine. The Center focusses on connecting epigenetics, chromatin remodeling and cellular metabolism thereby discovering new regulary concepts in biology and new therapeutic and preventive strategies for the treatment of major human diseases.

http://cem.igb.uci.edu/

 

April 19, 2012

Korber successful in BioSysNet application

biosysnetThe group of Philipp Korber was accepted as an associated junior research group within the newly established Bavarian Research Network for Molecular Biosystems (www.biosysnet.de). Their application with the project “Comparative genomics of evolutionarily diverged nucleosome positioning mechanisms in S. cerevisiae and S. pombe as studied by in vitro reconstitution“ secured funding of about 250.000 Euros in total for the next five years.

 

 February 16, 2012

Molecular Biology in Disguise.

carneval2012

A jolly Carneval Party found even the most serious researchers a bit out of control.

 

February 13, 2012

Spring cleaning!

The Chromatin researchers spend an intense day cleaning and reorganising their labs. The traditional spring cleaning was rewarded by a beer party.

 

February 10, 2012

Retreat in White.

The Molecular Biology Unit headed for a two-day retreat in the Kleinwalsertal (Austria). This time the focus of the presentations and discussions rested on  various career tracks for PhD students and postdocs. Senior faculty presented their scientific and personal developments in a blend of historical and scientific account. These disucssions were blended with a day of outdoors Winter activities and a morning devoted to exploring the potential for collaborative research within the Department.

 

December 8, 2011

Becker re-elected member of DFG review panel

dfg_logoPeter B. Becker was re-elected member of the Study Section ‘Cell Biology’ (Fachgutachter für Zellbiologie) of the German Research Council. These study sections review all grants submitted to the DFG in their field and make funding recommendations to the Senate of the DFG.

 November 16, 2011 

Becker receives ERC Advanced Investigator Grant .

erc_logoProf. Peter B. Becker was awarded one of the prestigious ‘Advanced Investigator Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) to study the ‘Assembly and Maintenance of a Co-regulated Chromosomal Compartment’. This research will be supported with close to 2.5 Million Euro over the course of the next 5 years.

 

 


October 17-19, 2011

Molecular Biology Retreat

The Molecular Biology Unit retreated for two days of discussion on epigenetic mechanisms in health and disease to Wildbad Kreuth. The scientific discussions were punctuated by outdoors activities: a hike through the scenic Wolfsschlucht to the Schildenstein, and an afternoon of team building activities, which was supported by the Institute for Leadership and People management of the LMU.

 

September 29, 2011 

Foundations of the new Biomedical Center laid.

bmc_2011In an official and festive act the foundations for the new ‘Biomedical Center’ were laid on the HighTech Campus on the LMU in Martinsried. The Molecular Biology unit and eight sister departments of the Medical faculty will move into their new, state-of-the-art premises in summer of 2014. The importance of the event was highlighted by the participation of Ministerpräsident Seehofer,  Bavarian Minister of Research Dr. Heubisch and Staatssekretär Dr. Schütte of the Federal Ministery of research,. The new building will host high-level research on the ‘Plasticity of cellular programmes’. It is financed by the Bavarian HighTech Offensive ‘Bayern 2020’ and additional support form the Federal Government.

Links

http://www.abi.med.uni-muenchen.de/institut/bmc/presse/bmc6/index.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V90mQiJvYoU

 

June 30, 2011

Becker and Korber new members of the Network of Excellence EpigeneSys.

logo_epigenesysPeter B. Becker and Philipp Korber were elected Associate Members of the EU-Network of Excellence ‘EpigeneSys’, which is founded by the 7th framework programme of the European Union. The assembly of the Associates elected Peter Becker to their representative within the Network.

 

May 20, 2011

Landmark paper on nucleosome positioning mechanisms by Korber group

The Korber group published, in collaboration with the group of Prof. B. Franklin Pugh, Pennsylvania State University, USA, the first genome-wide in vitro reconstitution of in vivo-like nucleosome positioning (Zhang, Z. et al., 2011, Science, 332(6032):977-80).

Press release: http://www.uni-muenchen.de/aktuelles/presseinformationen/2011/f-35-11.html