Beethoven’s genome offers clues to composer’s health and family history
—Ludwig van Beethoven’s genome has been sequenced for the first time by an international team of scientists with the participation of ImmunoSensation² member Prof. Markus Nöthen at the University of Bonn, using five genetically matching locks of the well-known composer’s hair.
Loss of mitochondrial integrity induces inflammasome activation
—The recognition of pathogens and sterile damage may result in pyroptotic cell death and inflammation. This is brought about by the formation of protein complexes called inflammasomes. ImmunoSensation² speaker Prof. Eicke Latz and his team at the University of Bonn, together with colleagues from the University of Singapore, now revealed a new function for the inflammasome component NLRP10. The sensor warns of damage to the mitochondria. If it does not function properly, chronic skin diseases can result. The results have now been published in the journal Nature Immunology.
Hyper-Susceptibility to viral infections in patients with inactive TBK1
—The enzyme TBK1 is an important component of the innate immune system that plays an critical role in the defense against viruses. Upon mutation-induced loss of TBK1 function, patients show an increased susceptibility to viral infections. Strikingly, if TBK1 is not expressed at all, this clinical effect is not seen. The mechanism behind this supposed discrepancy has now been elucidated by researchers led by ImmunoSensation² member Prof. Martin Schlee of the University Hospital Bonn. The corresponding study was published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.
Restoration of immune defense in chronic liver disease
—Patients suffering from chronic liver disease don't respond to vaccination and are at high risk of viral infections. In these patients, virus-specific T-cells are dysfunctional and unable to eliminate viral pathogens. A research team led by ImmunoSensation² member Prof. Zeinab Abdullah at the University Hospital Bonn, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Oxford and the Technical University Munich, has now discovered the molecular mechanism underlying the suppression of systemic T-cell immunity.
—The success of cancer treatment depends not only on the type of tumor, but also on the surrounding tissue. Tumors influence it to their advantage, promoting the growth of blood vessels or fooling incoming immune cells. Developing methods to predict the nature of the resulting tumor microenvironment is the goal of researchers from the Clusters of Excellence ImmunoSensation² and the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) led by Prof. Kevin Thurley at the University of Bonn. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the "InterpretTME" project with around 800,000 euros.
Wiring and movement of nerve cells interwoven, but controlled separately
—As nerve cells form, they wire the brain to enable communication with other nerve cells. One of these wires, the axon, becomes long; these wires are a basis for neuronal networks. At the same time, nerve cells migrate to a specific place in the brain, the cortex. Remarkably, these dynamic processes are separately controlled: The axon continues to grow to connect with its target cells even after the nerve cell has already found its final position.
—Viruses use the molecular repertoire of the host cell to replicate. The team led by ImmunoSensation² member Prof. Hiroki Kato has identified a compound that inhibits the body's own methyltransferase MTr1, thereby limiting the replication of influenza viruses. The compound proved effective in lung tissue preparations and mouse studies and showed synergistic effects with already approved influenza drugs. The study is now published in the journal Science.
—As part of the Bonn Open Science Community (OSC), ImmunoSensation² participates in the pan-european open schooling project MULTIPLIERS. Together with partners from the University of Bonn, local schools, museums, NGOs and industry, the OSC steps up to strengthen science education and scientific thinking. The Horizon 2020 project promotes open schooling, a new way to learn that makes science more meaningful and directly relevant to everyday life & realworld challenges. In December 2022 the project finally took the step into the classroom.
How nerve and vascular cells coordinate their growth
—Nerve cells need a lot of energy and oxygen. They receive both through the blood. This is why nerve tissue is usually crisscrossed by a large number of blood vessels. But what prevents neurons and vascular cells from getting in each other's way as they grow? Researchers at the Universities of Heidelberg and Bonn, together with international partners, have identified a mechanism that takes care of this. The results have now appeared in the journal Neuron.