Awardees' Articles

HFSP Program Grant holders Leif Schröder and Mikhail Shapiro and colleagues

Monday 25th September 2017

Using a refined ultra-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging approach, it was shown that the noble gas xenon not only lights up in car headlights but also yields switchable bright signals for MRI scans when being trapped in nano-sized protein containers. The findings offer new perspectives for following specific cellular functions in the context of entire living organisms, a challenge that requires novel reporters with no signal penetration limits and that should be minimally invasive to not hamper...

 

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Nir Fluman and colleagues

Tuesday 19th September 2017

Membrane proteins are inserted into the membrane co-translationally, one transmembrane helix after the other, as they emerge from the ribosome, yet it remains debatable whether helix insertion may remain dynamic at later stages. Contrary to earlier predictions, several studies have shown that certain helices can pop in or out of the membrane, or flip their orientation in the membrane, or even that whole proteins may perhaps change orientation, but it is not clear if such dynamic behaviors represent...

 

HFSP Career Development Award holder Emmanuel Levy and colleagues [with video]

Monday 18th September 2017

From symmetric complexes to micron-scale assemblies by single point mutations: we show how single point mutations frequently create new protein-protein interactions and can give rise to large assemblies in living cells. Unlike in amyloids, the proteins in these assemblies do not change shape or unfold in order to assemble.

 

HFSP Program Grant holder Marc Marti-Renom and colleagues

Friday 15th September 2017

In order to identify the structural determinant of the five different types (colors) of chromatin, we developed and applied a fully automatic computational pipeline to model the fly genome in 3D.

 

HFSP Career Development Award holder Valérie Ego-Stengel and colleagues

Monday 4th September 2017

Rats spontaneously move their whiskers upon surfaces (whisking) to finely examine them. Our work demonstrates for the first time that these animals are also able to discriminate bilaterally and simultaneously two surfaces, while running and without whisking.

 

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Jennifer Zenker and colleagues

Thursday 31st August 2017

Microtubules, the largest filaments of the internal skeleton of a cell, are typically emanating from a central structure inside a cell, the centrosome. However, the cells of the early mammalian embryo are lacking centrosomes. Therefore, it has remained unknown how the microtubule cytoskeleton is organized during the first stages of development. Here, we discovered how mammalian cells organize their internal skeleton during the earliest stages of embryonic life.

 

HFSP Program Grant holder Florian Engert and colleagues

Friday 25th August 2017

It has been a longstanding puzzle how aquatic animals can effectively navigate within water currents, even in complete darkness where obvious visual cues from the stationary shore or river bottom are missing. In a recent study, published in Nature, it was demonstrated that larval zebrafish use the hair cells of their lateral line to detect tiny gradients in the local water velocity and that they can utilize this information in an elegant way to decipher the speed and direction with which they are...

 

HFSP Program Grant holders Vincent Noireaux and Albert Libchaber and colleagues

Thursday 27th July 2017

The physical growth of synthetic cell-sized compartments genetically programmed but deprived of complex enzymatic membrane synthesis mechanisms remains an open question relevant to the origin of life and to the chemical synthesis of artificial cells. In this work, a HFSP-funded research collaboration demonstrates that phospholipids vesicles capable of expressing proteins can physically grow in a bath of primitive building blocks that spontaneously insert into the vesicles' membrane.

 

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Jinhong Luo and HFSP Program Grant holder Cynthia Moss and colleagues

Tuesday 25th July 2017

Our research shows that it takes a fraction of an eye blink for bats to raise the volume of their voice in response to noise. Echolocating bats produce high frequency sounds and listen to echoes to find objects in their environment. Here, we measured and modeled the time it takes for listening bats to adjust the volume of their calls when they track prey in the presence of noise. Bats achieve this extremely rapid vocal response by continuously integrating the sound pressure level of background noise...

 

HFSP Young Investigator Grant holders Malte Gather, Kristian Franze and Giuliano Scarcelli

Monday 24th July 2017

A new microscopy method, dubbed Elastic Resonator Interference Stress Microscopy (ERISM), images the extremely weak mechanical forces that living cells apply when they move, divide, and probe their environment. Forces exerted by cells are fundamental for many physiological processes including locomotion - such as during immune response or tumor metastasis - cell growth, wound healing, and tissue formation and repair. However, existing methods for monitoring cellular forces are often indirect and...