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ImmunoSensation - the immune sensory system

Antiviral signaling by a CRISPR protease

November 25, 2022

 

Structure and function of a CRISPR associated Lon protease
For several years now, the CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors have been causing a sensation in science and medicine. This new tool of molecular biology has its origins in an ancient bacterial immune system. It protects bacteria from attack by phages. A team of researchers around cluster Member Prof. Matthias Geyer from the Institute of Structural Biology at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), in cooperation with the partner university St Andrews in Scotland and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Hamburg, have now discovered a new function of the gene scissors. The study was published in the renowned scientific journal "Nature".

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The Cluster Science Days 2022

November 23, 2022

 

Important insights and promising perspectives characterized the Cluster Science Days 2022
Once again, the cluster members, associated scientists and guests, gathered at BMZ I & II on the UKB campus, as well as online to exchange on current research in immunology. Together, we celebrated the largest Cluster Science Days ever: with a total of more than 400 registered participants online and on-site, a new high of submitted scientific posters, and great talks and discussions on a wide variety of topics in immunology, we are looking back on a very appropriate 10th edition of the annual ImmunoSensation2 meeting.

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New insights into NLRP3 regulation

November 22, 2022

 

Characterization of the ATP-binding site in human NLRP3
The inflammasome protein NLRP3 is a polymodal sensor of cellular stress. Since it induces cell death through pyroptosis, its activation is strictly regulated. Binding of ATP is considered a prerequisite for NLRP3 activation and inflammasome formation. ImmunoSensation2 members Prof. Matthias Geyer and Prof. Eicke Latz, together with their teams at the University Hospital Bonn, have now further characterized the role of ATP in the regulation of NLRP3. The results were recently published in Communications Biology.

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Vaccination potentially improves effectiveness of cancer treatment

November 09, 2022

 

Clinical trial reveals better response to nasopharyngeal cancer treatment with anti-PD1 blockade and chemotherapy in COVID-vaccinated patients
Therapeutic use of checkpoint inhibitors, targeting anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), is common in the treatment of nasopharyngeal cancer. Until now, it was feared that vaccination against SarsCoV-2 could reduce the success of anti-PD-1 treatment or cause severe side effects. A recent study by scientists of ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn, together with colleagues at the University of Shanxi in the People's Republic of China now gives the all-clear in this regard. According to the study, the cancer drugs actually worked better after vaccination with the Chinese vaccine SinoVac than in unvaccinated patients. The results are published as a "Letter to the editor" in the journal Annals of Oncology, but are already available online.

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Rayk Behrendt receives prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant

November 08, 2022

 

The ERC is funding the Professor for Nucleic Acid Immunity at the Bonn Cluster of Excellence with arround 2 million euros.
The human genome harbors large segments that offer no obvious benefit and can potentially even cause disease. Nevertheless, these areas are copied and maintained every time a cell divides, which means a considerable effort and energy cost for the body. What is the evolutionary advantage of preserving these areas? This is the question that virologist and immunologist Prof. Rayk Behrendt from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn is addressing. For his research, he now receives the prestigious Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council (ERC). The selected project of the Bonn professor will be funded with about 2 million euros.

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P38 as signaling hub for NLRP1 activation in the skin

November 01, 2022

 

Ribotoxic stress response to UV-radiation and microbial molecules activate p38, inducing human NLRP1 inflammasome assembly in keratinocytes
Inflammasomes integrate different cues of infection or cellular damage to trigger an inflammatory response. The Nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat containing protein 1 (NLRP1) expressed in Keratinocytes coordinates inflammation in the skin. A recent study by ImmunoSensation2 scientists the University of Bonn in cooperation with colleagues at the University of Melbourne and the Boston Children’s Hospital has now identified p38 as the key molecule integrating various stress signals and inducing NLRP1 inflammasome assembly in human keratinocytes. The results have been published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

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Hemophilia: Training the immune system to be tolerant

October 28, 2022

 

Study by the University of Bonn elucidates an important immune mechanism Hemophilia A is the most common severe form of hemophilia. It affects almost exclusively males. The disease can usually be treated well, but not for all sufferers. Researchers at the cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2

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Dendritic cells use centrosomes to enhance their motility

October 17, 2022

 

Clustered centrosomes help dendritic cells to stabilize their locomotion along chemotactic cues
A migration mechanism previously known only from metastatic cancer cells has now also been demonstrated for leukocytes. This is the conclusion of a recent study led by researchers from ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn. According to the study, centrioles of dendritic cells proliferate and cluster together. This makes it easier for the cells to maintain their direction and thus migrate more quickly to the lymph nodes, where they activate other immune cells. The results have now been published in the Journal of Cell Biology.

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Designing a specific TLR8 agonist

September 29, 2022

 

Altered RNA 2'-O-Ribose methylation pattern increases receptor specificity
Toll like receptors (TLRs) are an integral part of our innate immune defense, as they recognize various pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPS). The TLR family members 7 and 8 are capable of detecting RNA molecules, actually in order to alert for viral infections. But both receptors may also be stimulated by artificial RNA molecules. A commonly known agonist of TLR7 and TLR8 is the 18s-rRNA derived oligonucleotide RNA63. It has been shown, that the receptor specificity of RNA63 is strongly dependent on the RNA 2'-O-Ribose methylation pattern. Methylation of the first Guanosine restricts the RNA’s activation potential to TLR8. Researchers of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University Hospital Bonn now provide a detailed insight into the effect of the RNA63 2'-O-Ribose methylation pattern on receptor specificity. The study has recently been published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

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Nucleic acid sensing in autoimmune vasculitis

August 24, 2022

 

Monocyte-derived macrophages involved in the development of ANCA-asscoiated vasculitis
Our own immune system can become the enemy when mechanisms that are actually protective get out of control. In ANCA-associated vasculitis, excessive inflammatory reactions lead to pulmonary hemorrhages that can be fatal if left untreated. Researchers at ImmunoSensation2, together with colleagues from Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and England, have deciphered a mechanism in mice and patients that leads to the severe disease. The results are now published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

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Structure of periplasmic TRAP transporter revealed

August 04, 2022

 

Elevator Tripartite ATP-independent periplasmic (TRAP) transporter shows a monomeric elevator architecture
Elevator Tripartite ATP-independent periplasmic (TRAP) transporters are found among various bacteria and archaea. They are situated in the periplasmic space and act as transport proteins for organic acids and related molecules. Though TRAP transporters are known to harbor two transmembrane domains and one soluble substrate-binding protein domain, until now the exact molecular structure remained elusive. Scientists of the excellence cluster ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn in cooperation with colleagues of the University of York have now identified the structure of the TRAP transporter HiSiaQM. A functional analysis further revealed potential target areas for transporter inhibition. The study has now been published in the journal Nature Communications.

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Cross-validation of distance measurements in proteins

August 02, 2022

 

Large scale analysis of PELDOR/DEER and smFRET as complementary tools in structural biology
In order to investigate intermolecular distances, conformational changes or structural heterogeneity of biological molecules, two different methods are widely used: Pulsed electron-electron double resonance spectroscopy (PELDOR/DEER) and single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer spectroscopy (smFRET). Scientists of the excellence cluster ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn and of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich have now compared the accuracy of the two methods. The study has now been published in the journal Nature Communications.

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Covid-19: Immune response hampered by low availability of ketone bodies

July 26, 2022

 

Supply of T-cells with adequate energy carriers deficient in patients suffering from Covid-19
In Covid-19 patients, the metabolism produces energy-rich ketone bodies in insufficient amounts. However, these energy carriers are needed by both helper and killer T-cells in order to fight the virus effectively. Perhaps this finding explains why some people become much more seriously ill than others. A study led by ImmunoSensation2 member Prof. Christoph Wilhelm at least points in this direction. The results have now been published in the journal Nature. They also give hope for new therapeutic approaches.

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Inosine enhances energy consumption in brown fat tissue

July 08, 2022

 

Apoptotic brown adipocytes stimulate surrounding healthy cells by the release of purine metabolite
A study led by ImmunoSensation2 member Prof. Alexander Pfeiffer at the University Hospital Bonn identified a molecule - the purine inosine - that boosts fat burning in brown adipocytes. The mechanism was discovered in mice, but probably exists in humans as well: If a transporter for inosine is less active, the mice remain significantly leaner despite a high-fat diet. The study, which also involved researchers from the University of Leipzig and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, has now been published in the journal Nature.

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International School on Advanced Immunology

June 21, 2022

 

We are pleased to announce that the ImmunoSensation2-IFReC International School on Advanced Immunology for early-career immunologists from all over the world premieres in Japan this year. The school is jointly organized by ImmunoSensation2 and the Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC) of Osaka University.

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art@immunosensation: A Membrane between Science and Society

May 31, 2022

 

The Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 of the University of Bonn connects more than 500 researchers and promotes the interdisciplinary exchange of the participating scientists. The art project art@immunosensation adds a new level of reflection to this exchange. Together with scientists from the Cluster of Excellence, artists from the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences Alfter, under the direction of Prof. Willem-Jan Beeren (architecture) and Prof. Paul Petry (sculpture), are creating a so-called WALL-laboratory (WANDlabor) in the foyer of the Biomedical Center II (BMZII).

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New insight into NLRP3-PYD filament formation

May 13, 2022

 

highly polar interface residues enable homomeric interaction of NLRP3-PYD filament
The inflammasome complex is able to sense intrinsic and extrinsic danger signals. Its activation induces an inflammatory response and pyroptotic cell death. Cluster Member Prof. Matthias Geyer and his team, together with colleagues from the University of Cologne, were now able to assign a directionality to NLRP3 filament formation. This finding has the potential to conceivably stop inflammation at the "growing end", and thus bring chronic inflammatory diseases to a halt. The study has now been published in the journal "Science Advances".

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Tag der Immunologie - Vorträge und mehr

May 03, 2022

 

Zum Tag der Immunologie präsentierten die Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler des Exzellenzclusters ImmunoSensation2 am 30.04.2022 erneut ihre Forschung in der Bonner Innenstadt. Wer sich für die Immunologie interessierte, konnte hier einen direkten Einblick in aktuelle Forschungsprojekte erhalten und mit Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern ins Gespräch kommen. Darüber hinaus konnte selbst Hand angelegt und unter Anleitung DNA aus Bananen extrahiert werden, oder ein Blick in eines der übergroßen Organmodelle geworfen werden.

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New approach against chronic inflammation

April 20, 2022

 

ASC-specks in mice targeted with nanobodies
Researchers of ImmunoSensation2 at the Universities of Bonn together with colleagues at the University of Sao Paulo have succeeded in mitigating chronic inflammation in mice using customized "mini-antibodies". These nanobodies enabled them to dissolve molecular complexes in tissue that normally activate the immune system. The nanobodies produced may in future help to slow down unwanted inflammatory reactions that cause diseases such as arthritis or neurodegeneration. The study is published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

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ImmunoSensation2 participates in research network CANTAR

April 14, 2022

 

CANTAR (CANcer TARgeting) research network funded with 19.4 million euros
The new research network CANTAR (CANcer TARgeting) in the field of oncology aims to develop new chemical substances to identify specific driving pathways of cancer and to explore how cancer can "escape" the immune system. The lead partner is the University of Cologne, with Humboldt Professor Dr. Henning Walczak of the Center for Biochemistry as designated spokesperson. Cluster Member Prof. Dr. Michael Hölzel, director of the Institute for Experimental Oncology at the University Hospital Bonn, is involved. CANTAR is funded with a total of 19.4 million euros for the funding period.

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