An international team, including the group of Professor Michel Milinkovitch, will analyse the African elephant’s trunk, and its exceptional agility and versatility, to create a new generation of manipulative robots capable of operating in unstable environments, adapting quickly to unexpected situations and performing a multitude of concrete tasks.
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Living organisms have to faithfully duplicate all the DNA in their chromosomes once and only once during every cell division. Replication forks pause/slow/arrest/stall during progression through chromosomes at certain tight DNA/protein complexes known as Replication Fork Barriers (RFB). This pausing is promoted by the Fork Pausing Complex (FPC, composed of the Tof1 and Csm3 proteins in budding yeast) and opposed by Rrm3 helicase, a motor-like protein believed to displace obstacles.
Maksym Shyian and collaborators in the Shore laboratory have now discovered that the Tof1-Csm3 complex promotes fork pausing independently of Rrm3 helicase, in contrast to an old model. Instead the Fork Pausing Complex was found to mediate topoisomerase I (Top1) association with the replisome, which, together with Top2, is essential for fork slowdown (replisome sTOP mechanism).
The study was published in Genes & Development on December 5, 2019.
Marie Barberon, from the Department of Botany & Plant Biology, has just received the SNSF Eccellenza Grant.
Paul Guichard, Professor from the Cell Biology Department, has been selected to join the highly selective network of EMBO Young Investigators.
This program honours researchers under the age of 40 who are within their first four years as group leaders and have a proven record of scientific excellence.
Phosphorus is an essential building block for nucleic acids and membranes, forms an important energy currency of the cell and can act as a signaling molecule. Soil-living organisms take up phosphorus in the form of inorganic phosphate. How cells ‘measure’ phosphate concentrations to maintain sufficient phosphate levels in their cells and tissues is poorly understood. The group of Michael Hothorn has now elucidated that phosphate homeostasis in plants is regulated by an inositol pyrophosphate signaling molecule, which is generated by a bifunctional kinase/phosphatase enzyme in response to changing ATP and phosphate levels. The signaling molecule then binds to a cellular receptor, which in turn inactivates a transcription factor regulating phosphate starvation responses. Thus, a signaling molecule relays the nutrient status of the plant to a signaling cascade, allowing for nutrient uptake, storage and redistribution. The groups of Dorothea Fiedler (Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology, Berlin, Germany), Alisdair Fernie (Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology, Golm, Germany) and Gabriel Schaaf (University of Bonn, Germany) contributed to this study that was published in eLife on August 22.
Chromatin remodelers are protein machines that move or eject nucleosomes from the chromatin template to regulate gene expression. Kubik et al. show how two distinct classes of remodelers, which they call « pushers » and « pullers », interact genome-wide at promoter regions to determine both the frequency of gene transcription and the precise site of initiation.
After receiving an ERC Starting Grant in 2008 and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2014, Robbie Loewith has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for his research project entitled “Tension of ENDOmembranes maintained by TORC1 (TENDO)”. The aim is to understand how TORC1 regulates, and is regulated by, vacuolar membrane tension.
The grant is endowed with 2.25 million Euros over 5 years.
An ERC Advanced Grant has been awarded to Michel Milinkovitch for his research project entitled “Identifying how Evolution exploits physical properties of tissues to generate the complexity and diversity of Life (EVOMORPHYS)”. The aim is to identify the drivers of Life’s morphological complexity and diversity.
The grant is endowed with 2.5 million Euros over 5 years.
Summary of the research projects
The team of Luis Lopez-Molina demonstrates that maternal and environmental control of seed dormancy is carried out through novel epigenetic mechanisms of RNA interference. This study, published on March 26, 2019 in eLife, reveals that similar processes enable to transmit both the maternal imprint and that of temperatures present during the development of the seed.
Une étude à laquelle ont collaboré Athanasia Tzika et Michel Milinkovitch démontre comment des signaux génétiques et mécaniques se combinent pour permettre la formation d’un réseau organisé de plumes chez les oiseaux, leur permettant de voler. Les résultats ont été publiés le 21 février 2019 dans PLOS Biology.
Communiqué de presse
Vidéo : formation des plumes chez un embryon de poulet
Operons were thought to be absent in plants. The group of Michael Hothorn now reports the identification of an operon-like transcript in plants that allows for the concerted expression of a previously unknown cell-cycle regulator and a metabolic enzyme. This highly unusual transcript is conserved across the entire plant kingdom and is required for plant embryo development and growth. This study was published on February 8, 2019 in Nature Plants.