Awardees' Articles

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Nicola Allen and colleagues

Friday 25th May 2012

Neurons in the brain are connected by billions of synaptic connections, the points of communication between neurons. These connections are critical to the function of the central nervous system, allowing our sensory, motor and cognitive systems to interact. This study investigates the molecular pathways that lead to synapse formation and strengthening in the developing brain, with a particular focus on signaling interactions between neurons and a class of glial cell, the astrocyte.


Press release for Program Grant holders Fabrizio D'adda di Fagagna and Piero Carninci and colleagues

Thursday 24th May 2012

A new and unexpected role for RNA in animal cells is identified: the defence of genome integrity and stability. A study published today in the prestigious scientific journal Nature shows that until now an unknown class of RNA - the newly christened DDRNA - plays a key role in activation of the molecular alarms necessary to safeguard our genome when DNA damage from internal or external factors occurs. The discovery described in the pages of Nature emerges from a study conducted by Fabrizio d'...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Brice Bathellier and colleagues

Monday 21st May 2012

The airflow detecting filiform hairs of spiders and crickets works optimally on a broad range of unexpectedly high frequencies. This suggests the existence of a constant evolutionary pressure on the reception of fast airborne signals, which might be crucial for detection of prey or predators against other signal sources.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Makoto Hayashi and colleagues

Monday 14th May 2012

Cells that arrest cell division during mitosis eventually die or stop the cell cycle in the following G1 phase. Both of these outcomes are proposed to be tumor suppressive mechanisms, since escape from prolonged mitotic arrest may render cells aneuploid. Despite its importance in tumor suppression, the molecular pathway that predisposes arrested mitotic cells to die or stop the cell cycle in the subsequent G1 phase had not been determined.Here, we found that the chromosome ends (i.e. telomeres),...


HFSP Young Investigator Grant holder Narendra Maheshri and colleagues

Thursday 26th April 2012

How a gene responds to a transcription factor (TF) can depend on the number of binding sites within that TF's target promoter. But what if there are additional binding sites somewhere else in the genome? Using both experiments and models we demonstrate that these sites can qualitatively change the dose-response of the gene in a manner that depends quantitatively on the number of sites. Many organisms' genomes contain large regions of repetitive DNA sequence of variable length. A less appreciated...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Patrick Müller and Program Grant holders Alexander Schier and Sharad Ramanathan and colleagues

Wednesday 25th April 2012

Six decades ago Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science, proposed a mathematical model to explain pattern formation during development. In our recently published paper in Science, we find biophysical support for Turing's model - the activator Nodal moves more slowly through the embryo than its inhibitor Lefty.


HFSP Program Grant holders David Sumpter and Madeleine Beekman and colleagues

Tuesday 24th April 2012

Honey bee colonies are able to adjust and reallocate their foraging resources efficiently when foraging conditions in their environment change. This is achieved by two mechanisms: in the short term, bees who had previously foraged at a food source make occasional return visits to that food source and resume foraging if its quality improves; in the long term, foraging bees use the waggle dance to transmit information about the quality and location of newly found food sources to their colony mates...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Gabriel Rosenblum and colleagues

Tuesday 17th April 2012

Site-specific labeling of ribosomes and tRNAs allows mechanistic investigation of translation using single-molecule approaches. However, quality control of labeled components can be a laborious and cumbersome process. Here we develop a novel assay that allows straightforward determination of the activity of fluorescently labeled translational components. This assay follows translation in real-time, using cell-free expression of a GFP variant. The activity of fluorescently labeled ribosomes and tRNAs...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Shimon Bershtein and colleagues

Thursday 12th April 2012

Most random mutations are destabilizing, and they affect fitness by compromising structural integrity of proteins that results in decreased activity and toxicity due to aggregation. Surprisingly, destabilizing mutations can also induce oligomerization, thus preserving proteins' solubility and function.


HFSP Long-Term Fellows Ralph Neumüller and Frederik Wirtz-Peitz and colleagues

Thursday 12th April 2012

Protein trap lines in various organisms have mainly been used to study the expression pattern of the tagged gene products. In addition to this approach we show that protein trap lines can effectively be used to perform high stringency loss of function experiments and to probe the interactome of the tagged protein, significantly expanding the experimental versatility of existing protein trap lines.