Awardees' Articles

HFSP Career Development Award holder Danny Hsu and colleagues

Monday 18th May 2015

Polypeptide chains, like yarn and headset wires, can get entangled and knotted, but in a defined way. While such an idea was inconceivable for structural biologists two decades ago, recent structural genomic initiatives and developments of protein knot detection algorithms have helped identify hundreds of knotted proteins with different knotted topologies, ranging from a simple trefoil knot to a very complex Stevedore’s knot (Figure 1). Using MJ0366 from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii,...


HFSP Program Grant holders Philip Bevilacqua and Sarah Assmann and colleagues

Tuesday 12th May 2015

RNA folds into fascinating structures that govern almost every biological process. One distinctive structural motif, the G-quadruplex, is of particular interest given its potential relevance in regulation of biological processes. Our research describes a stable G-quadruplex structure within the 5’ UTR of Arabidopsis thaliana ATR mRNA that can inhibit translation, offering new insights into translational regulation in plants.


HFSP Program Grant holder Hang Lu and colleagues

Thursday 7th May 2015

The study of first larval stage Caenorhabditis elegans (soil nematode) is of particular interest for research on developmental biology. Traditionally it has been labor intensive to study them because of their small size and high motility. We have overcome this challenge by developing a miniaturized platform that uses nanoliter droplets of a reversible hydrogel to offer advanced manipulation of individual animals.


HFSP Program Grant holder Teva Vernoux and colleagues

Friday 1st May 2015

Auxin is the “conductor” of plant morphogenesis. Highly sensitive sensors and reporters now allow the dynamics of auxin distribution and auxin-induced transcription to be followed quantitatively in living tissues.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Magor Lorincz and colleagues

Friday 17th April 2015

Active and inactive states (sometimes referred to as UP and DOWN states) represent a fundamental activity pattern of neocortical networks in a range of mammalian species including mice, rats, cats and humans. They typify the activity of the brain during both deep sleep and anesthesia and are also related to key aspects of sensory processing. Our research describes for the first time the mechanism that underlies the robust rhythmic initiation of UP states that is a fundamental characteristic of these...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Alexey Amunts and colleagues

Thursday 9th April 2015

The highly divergent ribosomes of human mitochondria (mitoribosomes) synthesize 13 essential proteins of oxidative phosphorylation complexes. A project to determine the structure of mitoribosome has resulted in the 3.5 Å resolution structure of the intact human mitoribosome, revealing a network of 80 proteins, 36 of which are specific to mitochondria, and mt-tRNA-Val, newly discovered rRNA.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Christof Osman and colleagues

Thursday 2nd April 2015

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes essential subunits of respiratory complexes, which are responsible for the generation of ATP through oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria. Copies of mtDNA are distributed throughout the mitochondrial network and are faithfully inherited during the cell cycle, processes previously believed to require mitochondrial dynamics driven by fusion and fission of the organelle. We have developed a novel tool in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that allows us to watch mtDNA dynamics...


HFSP Young Investigator Grant holder Matthew Shawkey and colleagues

Tuesday 31st March 2015

How complex traits composed of multiple independent parts evolve is largely unknown. We use electron microscopy, spectrophotometry and phylogenetic analyses to show that the components of complex nanostructures producing bright colors in duck feathers evolve at different rates. In turn, this leads to independent evolution of aspects of the colors themselves, potentially helping to explain the broad diversity of colors in this group.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Jonas Noeske and colleagues

Tuesday 24th March 2015

Protein synthesis by the ribosome is highly dependent on ions. Moreover, the ribosome harbors posttranscriptional and posttranslational modifications, the function of which is poorly understood. Here, we present a high-resolution structure of the E. coli ribosome that suggests how solvation contributes to ribosome integrity and helps to explain the phylogenetic conservation of key elements including post-transcriptional and post-translational modifications.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Benjamin Schwessinger and colleagues

Monday 23rd March 2015

If advanced biofuels are to replace standard fuels on a gallon-for-gallon basis at competitive pricing, there is a requirement for a new generation of biofuel crops – plants designed specifically to serve as feedstocks for biofuel production. Switchgrass, the US native praire grass, is one of the target crops for biofuel production. In this pilot study we confirmed the capability of proteomics to identify enzymes involved in plant cell wall and sugar biosynthesis using genome resources generated...