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The bacterial transporter whose molecular structure has been solved uses the same transport mechanism as the neurotransmitter transporters but instead transports amino acids, such as leucine (Leu). In the outward-oriented state (left) Leu (yellow spheres) binds to two sodium ions (green spheres) in a central binding pocket whereas the rotating unit, designated L25 (beige spheres), is located next to the binding pocket of the  transported substance. In the new empty state (right) which the Aarhus researchers have now identified, L25 rotates into the binding pocket where it mimics and compensates for the lacking substance and sodium ions, enabling the transporter to return to an outward-oriented state from which it can start a new transport cycle.  Figure: Lina Malinauskaite.

2016.05.26 | Research

New discovery from the molecular machinery for depression and addiction

Researchers at Aarhus University have described how a group of the brain’s transport proteins with important roles in depression and dependence overcome the step which limits their effectiveness. The discovery makes it possible to describe the full function of the transport protein and can provide better opportunities for counteracting the effect…

Schematic represention of agotron biogenesis and function. Agotrons are derived from short introns produced during RNA splicing. Upon association with Ago proteins, agotrons target and destabilize mRNAs in a miRNA like manner. Figure: Thomas Birkballe Hansen.

2016.05.18 | Research

Agotrons – a new class of small regulatory molecules

Danish and American researchers have found a novel subclass of small RNA molecules involved in the regulation of gene expression.

Researchers from Aarhus University participate in a new national project to ensure that protein researchers will have access to the latest advanced equipment. The goal is to maintain Denmark’s leading position in protein research and to strengthen infrastructure and technological development. Photo: Colourbox

2016.05.13 | Grant

40 million Danish kroner for protein research

Researchers from Aarhus University participate in a new national project to ensure that protein researchers will have access to the latest advanced equipment. The goal is to maintain Denmark’s leading position in protein research and to strengthen infrastructure and technological development.

Jørgen Kjems was awarded DKK 6.1 million to develop a new method that can "translate" the total content of food to digitized information in the form of DNA sequences. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU Foto.

2016.05.12 | Grant

Jørgen Kjems awarded Semper Ardens grant from the Carlsberg Foundation

The Carlsberg Foundation has awarded Jørgen Kjems DKK 6.1 million to develop a new method that can "translate" the total content in a specific food to digitized information in the form of DNA sequences.

Schematic drawing of the active site of the calcium pump that completes the ATP cleavage reaction. The outline of this region of the protein (which is a long chain of 994 amino acid residues and approximately 15,000 atoms in total) is shown as white and yellow features and includes detailed representations of two catalytically important amino acid residues as red and white sticks (oxygen and carbon atoms). The red spheres represent bound water molecules, and the magenta sphere a magnesium ion that coordinates the phosphorylated amino acid side chain (an aspartic acid, lower) and the vanadate mimic of the phosphate “caught in the act” of cleavage (middle) by a water molecule positioned on top. The water is activated for the reaction by another catalytically active amino acid side chain (a glutamatic acid). This active site architecture is nearly identical in all ion pumps and responsible for approximately 1/3 of the ATP energy consumption in the human body. (Figure: Dr. Johannes Clausen).

2016.05.09 | Research

A calcium pump caught in the act

Researchers at Aarhus University have described one of the cell’s key enzymes, the calcium pump, in its decisive moment – a so-called transition state where a catalyzed activity makes the turning point from bound substrate to product. These findings provide a very detailed picture of how one of the most energy-consuming processes in the body takes…

At a ceremony at the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Malene Runge Jepsen received a postdoctoral grant to carry out research at Monash University in Australia for three years, followed by a one-year research period at MBG. Malene is seen in the middle with a striped blouse (Photo: Novo Nordisk Foundation).
Malene Runge Jepsen (Photo: Novo Nordisk Foundation)

2016.05.02 | Grant

Young researcher receives major grant to conduct research at Australian university

At a ceremony at the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Malene Runge Jepsen from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG) received a postdoctoral grant to carry out research at Monash University in Australia for three years, followed by a one-year research period at MBG.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded the prestigious Hallas-Møller Scholarship to Thomas Birkballe Hansen to study which role so-called circular RNAs play in cells and their potential impact on neurological disorders. The project will be carried out at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics/iNANO, Aarhus University. (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)

2016.04.26 | Grant

Prestigious grant of DKK 11 million to Thomas Birkballe Hansen

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded the prestigious Hallas-Møller Scholarship valued at DKK 11 million to Thomas Birkballe Hansen to study which role so-called circular RNAs play in cells and their potential impact on neurological disorders. The project will be carried out at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics/iNANO, Aarhus…

The researchers have revealed how different inhibitors of the human sugar transporter GLUT1 (figure) bind to a central cavity in the protein to inhibit its function. The results show a surprisingly promiscuous internal binding pocket with submicromolar affinities for chemically distinct substrates. With these results, the hope is that this will guide future drug design targeting sugar uptake mechanisms. Figure: Khyati Kapoor, UCSF.

2016.04.13 | Research

Can we treat cancer through reduced sugar uptake?

New research reveals the mechanism behind a cancer-relevant inhibition of human sugar transporting protein. The hope is that this will guide future drug design targeting sugar uptake mechanisms. This will ultimately lead to progress in a number of important common conditions, such as diabetes and cancer.

Poul Nissen receives the diploma and medal from Christina Moberg, President of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud/ The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Professors Poul Nissen (left) and Chikashi Toyoshima, University of Tokyo, Japan, shared the Aminoff Prize 2016. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud/ The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

2016.04.05 | Awards

Poul Nissen awarded the Aminoff Prize 2016

On Thursday 30 March 2016, Poul Nissen was awarded the Aminoff Prize 2016 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences – the first Dane ever – for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of the structural basis for ATP-driven transport of ions across cell membranes.

A certain gene variant has a major influence on the composition of the gut flora in the pig. This can impact the need for using antibiotics. Photo: Janne Hansen

2016.03.16 | Research

Can we use genetic variations to reduce the use of antibiotics?

Selection for pigs with genes for healthy intestinal flora may be able to reduce agriculture’s use of antibiotics and thus reduce the problems of antibiotic resistance. New knowledge paves the way for this opportunity.

Danish researchers have discovered that mitochondria from mistletoe contain only 10 genes. This discovery will ultimately lead to a better understanding of how mitochondria function and not least how the interaction between parasite and host functions. Photo: Colourbox.
Mistletoe (Viscum album) is a shrub that grows on other plants as a parasite (Photo: Colourbox). Photo: Colourbox.

2016.03.17 | Research

Remember the mistletoe!

Danish researchers have discovered that mitochondria from mistletoe contain only 10 genes. This discovery will ultimately lead to a better understanding of how mitochondria function and not least how the interaction between parasite and host functions. This discovery could be very important if we can use the knowledge to fight the massive loss of…

Ebbe Sloth Andersen, age 39, assistant professor at iNANO and the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, has been researching nanostructures since 2007, and his ERC grant will support the further development of the RNA origami technique. Photo: Lars Kruse.
The RNA double helix is one of the building blocks of RNA origami, a method for creating nanostructures in complex, predefined forms. The blueprints for RNA origamis are shown in white in the background. Illustration: Cody Geary.
The image shows one of the stages in an RNA origami, where the enzyme RNA-polymerase triggers the folding of the nanostructure encoded in the DNA. When the nanostructures have formed, they organise themselves into a hexagonal crystal. Illustration: Cody Geary.
The paper figures are created by Ebbe Sloth Andersen to visualise the difference between the RNA origami and DNA origami methods. Whereas RNA origami is folded of a single strand of RNA, just as an origami crane is folded out of a single piece of paper, DNA origami is folded out of a strand of DNA and hundreds of staple strands, as if staples were used to fold a paper crane. Photo: Ebbe Sloth Andersen.

2016.03.02 | Grant

EUR 2 million grant to RNA origami research

Assistant professor Ebbe Sloth Andersen from MBG and iNANO has received EUR 2 million from the European Research Council (ERC). This grant will help him bring biological nanostructure research into a new phase in the field of synthetic biology – a field which may ultimately have enormous significance for the medicine, energy, food and agriculture…

Professor Torben Heick Jensen has now received a prestigious grant from the Lundbeck Foundation amounting to DKK 10 million over five years to reveal new functional entities and regulatory principles within mammalian genomes. (Foto: Colourbox). 
Using HeLa cells as a model system, the Heick Jensen and Sandelin groups have previously devised an approach to profile the susceptibility of any RNA to rapid decay. Transcribed HeLa promoters were grouped into five major classes via k-medoids clustering based upon the sensitivity of their emitted RNAs to the ribonucleolytic exosome, their expression levels and their transcriptional strand bias (directionality) and visualized by principal component analysis (PCA). For a further read see: Andersson et al. Nature Communications 2014.

2016.02.25 | Grant

Finding hidden treasures in our DNA

The human genome is promiscuously transcribed yielding RNA from >75% of its DNA, and throughout the years, researchers world-wide have tried to find out how much of this material is functional. Danish researchers have now received a prestigious grant from the Lundbeck Foundation to address this problem.

Research will make it possible to replace animal protein with potato protein extracted from the production of potato starch. Thus, the potatoes will be exploited better and contribute to a more sustainable feeding of the world's growing population (Photo: the Innovation Fund Denmark)

2016.02.22 | Grant

Potatoes as a sustainable alternative to animal protein

Research will make it possible to replace animal protein with potato protein extracted from the production of potato starch. Thus, the potatoes will be exploited better and contribute to a more sustainable feeding of the world's growing population.

Danish researchers have found that a unit in the sodium-potassium pump, which is mainly located in the cerebellum, has special properties (figure: Wojciech Kopec)

2016.02.09 | Research

New insight into a cerebellar sodium-potassium pump

Danish researchers have found that a unit in the sodium-potassium pump, which is mainly located in the cerebellum, has special properties.

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Revised 2016.05.26