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The research team from Aarhus University who – together with researchers from the University of Copenhagen – showed that calcium pumps in the cell’s outer membrane adjust the pump speed very accurately to the calcium concentration. From left: Michael Knudsen, Henning Tidow and Poul Nissen (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen).
Overall structure of the A. thaliana (Cam7)2–Aca8R complex. Representation with CaM molecules in dark green (CaMBS1) and dark blue (CaMBS2), and Aca8R in orange, light green (CaMBS1) and cyan (CaMBS2). Ca21 is shown in magenta (figure: Henning Tidow).
Schematic of the proposed two-step, Ca21-mediated CaM activation mechanism. With increasing Ca21 concentration, Ca21-CaM first binds to and displaces high-affinity CaMBS1 before even higher Ca21 concentration leads to displacement of CaMBS2 from the catalytic core, allowing free movement of the A domain as required for ion pumping. Actuator (A), nucleotide-binding (N) and phosphorylation (P) domains and the transmembrane region are indicated (figure: Henning Tidow).
The researchers’ starting point was the calcium pump located in the cell membrane of the model plant thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) (photo: Jørgen Nielsen)

2012.10.21 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Danish researchers release ground-breaking knowledge about calcium pumps in cells

When animals and plants are exposed to influences such as bacterial attack, odour and cold, calcium ions flow into the cells. The calcium provides the cells with a signal about what is going on outside, but as high concentrations of calcium are toxic to the cells, it must be quickly pumped out again. Researchers from the Danish National Research…

The entire research team from Aarhus University in Denmark who has now discovered how a particular protein can damage cells. From left: Daniel E. Otzen, Niels Chr. Nielsen, Kasper Runager, Maria Andreasen, Søren B. Nielsen, Gunna Christiansen and Jan J. Enghild (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)
Examples of corneal dystrophy. Protein aggregation in the cornea makes it opague and eventually leads to blindness (Klintworth, G.K., Corneal Dystrophies. Orphanet J Rare Dis, 2009, 4, p. 7)  - click photos for enlargement.

2012.10.15 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Aggregation of proteins in cells may result in diseases

Changes in the structure of proteins can lead to various diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes and corneal dystrophy. A research team from Aarhus University has now discovered how a particular protein can damage cells. These results may lead to the development of drugs to treat corneal dystrophy in the future.

The researchers behind the revelation of the surprising interplay between the ends of human genes (from left): Søren Lykke Andersen, Pia Kjølhede Andersen and Torben Heick Jensen (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)

2012.10.02 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Length matters in gene expression

A research team at Aarhus University reveals a surprising interplay between the ends of human genes: If a protein-coding gene is too short it becomes inactive! The findings also explain how some short genes have adapted to circumvent this handicap.