A particular highlight is coming up next week: Prof Thomas Cech will be awarded a honorary doctorate by the University of Regensburg. Tom Cech, now Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and director of the BioFrontiers Institute, was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1989 jointly with Sidney Altman for the discovery of the catalytic activity of RNA. His revolutionary discovery of self-splicing in Tetrahymena thermophila radically changed the way we were thinking about RNA – what was previously considered a mere carrier of genetic information turned out to play the key function in fundamental biological processes. Exemplarily, protein synthesis is catalyzed by the RNA moiety of the large ribosomal subunit which promotes the peptidyl transfer reaction by which peptide bonds are formed between amino acids. His discovery also had a huge impact on my own scientific career and convinced me that RNA is the most interesting biomolecule to study. I am very much looking forward to the Symposium on Monday, October 22nd (starting 3:30p.m. in lecture hall H51) and to finally get the opportunity to meet Tom Cech in person!
Mark your calendars! From October 8th to 12th the Graduate Research Academy RNA Biology of the Collaborative Research Center 960 (SFB960 – Ribosome formation: principles of RNP biogenesis and control of their function) is hosting a practical course on modern methods for the analysis of ribonucleoproteins (RNPs). Diverse topics will be covered ranging from biophysical analyses (such as isothermal calorimetry and thermophoresis), single-molecule RNP studies (single-molecule FRET and FISH), RNA structure probing and the latest RNA interactome capture methodology. In the morning, renowned experts will deliver lectures to introduce the individual topics, followed by hands-on experimentation in the afternoon. All lectures are open to the public, so even if you didn’t register, you certainly don’t want to miss out on the exciting talks by Rastislav Horos (EMBL Heidelberg), Agatha Korytowski (Malvern Panalytical GmbH), Stefanie Nunes Rosa (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala), Joel Perez-Perri (EMBL Heidelberg), Bruno Sargueil (CNRS/ Paris Descartes University), and Ralf Seidel (Universität Leipzig)!
On Wednesday, November 29th, Jan successfully finished the final phase of his Habilitation by delivering a lecture in front of the entire faculty.
`I want to thank everybody who supported me along the way, in particular my lab and the colleagues in the Biochemistry I department of the University of Regensburg, especially Gunter Meister. Also without the help of our colleagues in the Collaborative Research Center 960 (Sonderforschungsbereich SFB960), our excellent collaborators, and the funding (provided by BioSysNet, DFG and BMBF) we would not have succeeded with our scientific work that was an essential part of the Habilitation.´
It is a german tradition to prepare a handcrafted hat as a present for candidates that have just obtained their doctoral degree. Jan also got a super-cool Drosophila hat for his Habilitation – thank you to everybody who helped crafting it!
Good news! We are happy to announce that our review on the function of the Drosophila RNA-binding protein Sex-lethal (Sxl) was recently accepted. Sxl is particularly interesting: it is a rather small RNA-binding protein with a simple architecture, nonetheless it engages in the regulation of multiple aspects of gene expression to direct female development. The review is open access and can be downloaded here. Let us know what you think about it!
‘A very well organized and extremely helpful course on RNA-Seq analysis featuring top-notch speakers and experts in the field’
– that is how one of the participants summarized the recent bioinformatics course on ‘Analysis of NextGen RNA-Seq data for expression profiling and protein-binding RNAs’ that took place from October 10th to 14th at the University of Regensburg. The Graduate Research Academy RNA Biology hosted several renowned experts in the field that delivered fascinating, public lectures addressing state-of-the-art methods for gene expression profiling and RNP analysis. Afterwards 18 selected participants had the opportunity for some hands-on training on actual datasets. We are happy that so many interested students from seven different universities joined us. And apparently, according to the feedback we got, for the participants the course really did make a difference:
‘with the combination of excellent speakers and target-oriented hands-on training, this one-week course increased my knowledge on current NGS tools and enabled me to analyze my own datasets’
During five intense days, a broad variety of topics was covered. These ranged from practical considerations for setting up sequencing experiments (Stefan Kirsch, Fraunhofer ITEM), Sequence alignment and quality assessment (Steve Hoffmann, Universität Leipzig and Nicholas Strieder, Universität Regensburg), pecularities of high-throughput data analysis (Rainer Spang, Universität Regensburg), differential gene expression and alternative transcript level analyses (Simon Anders, FIMM Helsinki, Charlotte Soneson, University of Zurich and Grischa Tödt, EMBL Heidelberg) to probing of RNPs (CLIP, Markus Hafner, NIH Bethesda) and translation (Ribosomal Profiling, Jan Medenbach, Universität Regensburg).
We are extremely grateful to the instructors and tutors and would like to thank all of them for their generous support! Their help, commitment, dedication, and willingness to share knowledge made a real difference and the course a big success!
Mark your calendar – there will be an exciting talk on October 20th! Dierk Niessing (affiliated with both the Biomedical Center of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and the Institute of Structural Biology of the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich) will present fascinating data on how RNPs assemble and how mRNA localization is achieved.
In eukaryotes asymmetric localization of mRNAs and their local translation is a universal mechanism to generate cellular asymmetry. It is required for diverse processes such as embryogenesis, stem cell division and differentiation of somatic cells. For localization the transcripts are selectively recognized by motor-protein containing particles and actively transported along the cytoskeleton. Despite its importance, the molecular basis of this spatial and temporal control of gene expression is not well understood. The Niessing lab took advantage of the fact that mRNA localization in budding yeast involves considerably fewer core factors than in higher eukaryotes. In S.cerevisiae the ASH1 mRNA and about 30 other transcripts are actively transported from the mother to the daughter cell by a myosin-containing complex. At the tip of the daughter cell ASH1 mRNA then becomes locally translated.
Employing biochemical, biophysical and structural approaches, Dierk’s lab has studied in molecular detail the assembly of all core components of the ASH1 mRNA-transport complex. Moreover, they have succeeded to in vitro reconstitute transport complexes, motile particles with the size of about 1mDa, and characterized key features of their biogenesis and activation. Together these insights serve as one of the best-understood examples of how cells generate cellular asymmetry on the molecular level.
Dierk is a full professor at the Biomedical Center of the Deptartment of Cell Biology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and deputy director of the Institute of Structural Biology of the Helmholtz Zentrum München. He is also the speaker of the recently funded DFG Research Unit FOR2333 ‘Macromolecular Complexes in mRNA Localization’, a multidisciplinary research consortium that addresses principles of gene regulation by directional RNA transport and local translation.
The ‘Sino-German Symposium on RNA Biology and human disease: from Molecular Mechanisms to Global Networks‘ took place from July 25-27 at the beautiful castle ‘Schloss Rauischholzhausen’ in the middle of Hessia. Albrecht Bindereif (Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Germany) and Zefeng Wang (CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai, P.R. China) invited more than 30 participants from China and Germany to discuss the latest findings in RNA biology and to forge scientific sino-german collaborations. A great symposium and a great experience, meeting old and new colleagues from China and making new friends.
Many thanks to Jingyi Hui (IBCB Shanghai) for the translation into chinese! Picture courtsey of Silke Schreiner, University of Giessen
From October 10th to 14th 2016, a methods course on ‘Analysis of NextGen RNA-Seq data for expression profiling and protein binding RNAs‘ will take place here in Regensburg. Insightful lectures will be deliverd by reknown experts in the field, including (in alphabetical order) Simon Anders (FIMM Helsinki), Markus Hafner (NIAMS/NIH Bethesda), Steve Hoffman (University of Leipzig), Stefan Kirsch (Fraunhofer ITEM, Regensburg), Charlotte Soneson (University of Zurich), Rainer Spang (University of Regensburg), Nicholas Strieder (University of Regensburg), and Grischa Toedt (EMBL Heidelberg). After the lectures, there will be ample time for hands-on training allowing the participants to gain some practical experience with the latest computational approaches. If you are interested in participating, please register before July 13th.
The course is generously supported by the Graduate Research Academy RNA Biology of the Collaborate Research Center SFB960 ‘Ribosome formation: principles of RNP biogenesis and control of their function’.
Students of the Regensburg International Graduate School for Life Sciences (RIGeL) invited Randy Schekman (UC Berkeley) for an honorary lecture to Regensburg. In 2013, together with his colleagues James Rothmann (Yale University) and Thomas Südhof (Stanford University), Randy received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his groundbreaking work on cellular trafficking. It was an exciting event with great science and lots of fun! (Photos courtsey of Andreas Fuchs)
The first meeting of the DFG Research Unit 2333 (FOR2333) took place on March 1st and 2nd in the beautiful town of Blaubeuren, famous for its resurgence the ‘Blautopf’ that feeds the Danube river. FOR2333 receives funding from the DFG since beginning of 2016 to foster multidisciplinary research aiming to understand principles of gene regulation by directional mRNA transport and local translation. Unfortunately our application to become part of this exciting research team was not successful but nonetheless we were invited to participate in this wonderful meeting packed with talks about exciting research and novel findings. We are extremely happy for this opportunity and we are looking forward to continuing our collaborations with several groups of the consortium.
With christmas time approaching, we would like to thank our colleagues and collaborators for a wonderful and productive year! Also we would like to specifically thank the funding agencies for their very generous support that helps us to pursue our scientific goals!
Merry Christmas, a relaxing holiday season and a happy and successful New Year!
The initiative ‚Nacht schafft Wissen‘ by the city of Regensburg provides an opportunity to gain insight into the research and work that is conducted within numerous companies, the technical university of applied sciences, the university of Regensburg and its hospital. For this a number of talks and tours are offered to interested visitors. Rebecca Moschall from the lab will actively participate by guiding lab visits in the biochemistry department and explaining about the research that is conducted. We are very much looking forward to welcoming you on April 24th!
(picture with permission from city of Regensburg)
We are happy to announce that Gaia Di Timoteo was successful with her application for an Erasmus fellowship. Gaia is working in the laboratory of Irene Bozzoni at the Sapienza University of Rome. She will join our lab for two months (starting in July) to gain expertise in experimentation aimed to study translation in vitro.
Looking forward to your visit!