Awardees' Articles

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Sebastian Guettler and colleagues

Thursday 12th January 2012

Poly(ADP-ribose)polymerases (PARPs) are receiving increasing attention in signal transduction but the biological roles and regulation of many PARP family members remain to be studied. Tankyrase is a PARP that recognizes its substrates by binding short peptide motifs within these target proteins. Using x-ray crystallography and peptide-binding studies, we have uncovered the structural basis and sequence rules for substrate recognition by tankyrase. Our results explain the basis for the human disease...


HFSP Career Development Award holder Ilona Kadow and Colleagues

Tuesday 3rd January 2012

The structure of sensory nervous systems and the genetic machinery underpinning different lifestyles are not understood. Mosquitoes and other haematophagous insects, for instance, use carbon dioxide to find the human or animal host. In contrast, flies strongly dislike carbon dioxide. We identify a microRNA controlled genetic network that might have contributed to nervous system and behavioural divergence of flies and mosquitoes during evolution.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Karun Singh and colleagues

Monday 19th December 2011

Disrupted in Schizophrenia-1 (DISC1) is a candidate gene for psychiatric disorders and has many roles during brain development. Common DISC1 polymorphisms (variants) are associated with neuropsychiatric phenotypes including altered cognition, brain structure and function; however, it is unknown how this occurs. In this study, HFSP long-term fellow Karun Singh and colleagues address this question by taking a molecular approach using mouse, zebrafish and human cellular models. This work demonstrates...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Shalev Itzkovitz and colleagues

Friday 16th December 2011

Tissue stem cells are long lived cells that can give rise to all the different cell types in a tissue. These cells are hard to study as they generally make up a small minority and are often morphologically indistinguishable from their differentiated progenies. A key goal in stem cell research is to identify ‘stem cell markers’, the small set of genes that are specifically expressed only in the tissue stem cells and not in their differentiated progenies.


HFSP Short-Term Fellow Tim Mercer and colleagues

Thursday 15th December 2011

The human genome expresses not only protein-coding transcripts, but also an expanding and diverse catalog of noncoding RNAs. We developed a technique, we term CaptureSeq, which combines arrays and sequencing to target and analyse select regions of the transcriptome. Given the sensitivity of CaptureSeq for detecting rare and transient transcriptional events below the detection limits of conventional sequencing, we applied this technique to interrogate intergenic regions devoid of known protein-coding...


HFSP Career Development Award holders Yukihide Tomari and Hervé Seitz and colleagues

Tuesday 6th December 2011

Both small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) are produced via the “dicing” action of Dicer enzymes. Insects have two Dicer proteins with specialized functions: Dicer-1 that processes precursor miRNAs (pre-miRNAs) and Dicer-2 that dices long double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs). Here, HFSP Career Development Award holders Yukihide Tomari and Hervé Seitz and their colleagues show the unique mechanism by which fly Dicer-1 specifically recognizes the pre-miRNA structure.


HFSP Program Grant Award holder Lutz Wiegrebe and colleagues

Monday 5th December 2011

To date it was assumed that the size of an ensonified object is perceived by echolocating bats through echo intensity – larger objects create louder echoes. In this study we show that this is not the case. Instead, the bats recruit both monaural and binaural perceptual cues - similar to how other mammals localize sound sources in space – to estimate object size. These spatial cues are reliably represented in the bat’s auditory midbrain and cortex.


HFSP Career Development Award holder Oliver Daumke and colleagues

Monday 28th November 2011

Members of the dynamin superfamily are mechano-chemical GTPases which assemble at the surface of membranes and use the energy of GTP binding hydrolysis to apply a mechanical force to the underlying substrate. Here, X-ray structures of dynamin and the closely related antiviral MxA GTPase were elucidated which shed light on their molecular mechanism of action.


HFSP Program Grant Award holders Elizabeth Wright and Patrick Viollier and colleagues

Friday 25th November 2011

Bacteriophage (phage) use many methods to coordinate their adsorption and attachment to host bacteria. Some phages have tethers, which allow them to link to bacterial appendages, such as flagella and pili. In a recently published paper, we determined that the first interaction between two Caulobacter phages and the bacterial flagellum is through a filament located on the phage head.


HFSP Career Development Award holder Frank Schnorrer and colleagues

Monday 21st November 2011

Flying insects oscillate their wings at frequencies of up to 1000 times per second. These fast oscillations are powered by specialized fibrillar flight muscles, which develop under the control of the transcription factor Spalt major. Spalt major mutants are flightless and instead of fibrillar flight muscles form normal, slow moving body muscles only.