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Tinna V. Stevnsner has been given a grant to study how we can ensure that cognitive functions are maintained with age (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen).

2012.12.12 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

We live longer, but how are we doing?

The Danish population is getting older and older, and holding on to cognitive functions – such as memory – among the elderly is important for maintaining their quality of life, particularly so because there is no effective treatment as yet – nor any aids – to compensate for the loss of their intellectual capacity. So how do we ensure that…

Sir John B. Gurdon gives a talk at Aarhus University on Monday 17 December 2012.

2012.12.07 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Nobel Laureate makes a stop in Aarhus

Sir John B. Gurdon, University of Cambridge, will be presented next week with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012. Following a tour around Sweden, he will make a stop at Aarhus University on his way home. On Monday 17 December 2012, he will present his Nobel Lecture.

Suresh Rattan

2012.12.06 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Suresh Rattan granted honorary visiting professorship in the Czech Republic

Suresh Rattan, PhD, Dr.scient. has been granted an honorary visiting professorship at the Faculty of Science, Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, for a period of four years.

2012.12.03 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Research funding rains millions over MBG

The Department of Molecular Biology (MBG) and Genetics hit the jackpot three times in this round of funding when the Danish Council for Strategic Research announced the projects to funded. A whopping seven out of nine projects which have received support from the Danish Council for Strategic Research’s Programme Commission for Health, Food and…

Photo: Colorbox

2012.12.03 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Milk is good for memory

Researchers at Aarhus University are working on creating a milk-based product that ensures good absorption of vitamin B12. Elderly people in particular are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, and this can affect functions such as memory.

Scientists will breed cows that burp less methane by, among things, breeding the cow's rumen microflora. Photo: Jesper Rais

2012.11.30 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Maximum milk for minimum methane

By selectively breeding not only cows, but also their rumen bacteria, researchers intend to reduce the release of the greenhouse gas methane, while also increasing the effectiveness of the cow's milk and meat production.

A new research centre for genomics will be established at Aarhus University. Photo: Colourbox

2012.11.30 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

New research centre for genomic selection established at Aarhus University

A research centre in genomic selection is to provide new tools for use in modern breeding of plants and animals.

The research team behind the new method for diagnosing malaria. Back row from left: Charlotte Harmsen, Pia W. Jensen, Magnus Stougaard, Emil L. Kristoffersen, Rikke Frøhlich and Eskild Petersen. Front row from left: Amit Roy, Christine J. F. Nielsen, Birgitta R. Knudsen, Rodrigo Labouriau and Megan Yi-Ping Ho. Click photo and figures for enlargement (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen).
The high sensitivity is achieved by performing the REEAD technology within droplets surrounded by oil. The malaria parasites are distributed in the pico-litre droplet, where they react effectively with the other components of the REEAD technology (figure: Sissel Juul and Birgitta Knudsen).
Uninfected blood and blood infected with the malaria parasite P. falciparum. The new method amplifies the signal from the malaria parasites since each parasite can give rise to more DNA molecules using the REEAD technology. Under the microscope, each DNA product is seen as a red dot (figure: Sissel Juul and Birgitta Knudsen).

2012.11.27 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

New method for diagnosing malaria

Danish researchers have developed a new and sensitive method that makes it possible to diagnose malaria from a single drop of blood or saliva. The method might eventually be used in low-resource areas without the need for specially trained personnel, expensive equipment, clean water or electricity. With the development of this method, the…

Researchers at Aarhus University have played an important role in the mapping of the pig genome. The results have far-reaching practical implications for pig research and breeding and are an important building block for research into human diseases. Photo: Colourbox.

2012.11.15 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

The genetic code of the pig has been broken

Researchers at Aarhus University have played an important role in the mapping of the pig genome. The results have far-reaching practical implications for pig research and breeding and are an important building block for research into human diseases.

The international research team behind the results revealing new fundamental features of biomolecular interactions that enable plants to identify and respond appropriately to microorganisms. Back row, left: Mikkel B. Thygesen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Søren S. Thirup (Aarhus University, Denmark), middle row: Jens Stougaard (Aarhus University, Denmark), Knud J. Jensen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Clive W. Ronson (University of Otago, New Zealand) and front row: Mickaël Blaise (Aarhus University, Denmark), Nicolai Maolanon (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and Maria Vinther (Aarhus University, Denmark) (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen). Click photos and figures for enlargement.
First author: Angelique Broghammer (Aarhus University, Denmark) (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen).
Figure 1. Binding of Nod factor to the receptor proteins can be shown by surface plasmon resonance. A chip was established which contained glucose, chitin and Nod factor in different flow cells (Fc). Glucose was used as a reference. When the receptor proteins are passed over the different ligands on the chips, binding was only observed to Nod factor. The response increased with higher concentrations of receptor proteins, and by plotting the response values against the receptor, concentration binding constants could be determined (figure: Angelique Broghammer).
Figure 2. Chemically modified Nod factor molecule. 
Nod factors were isolated from the supernatant of a rhizobia culture, purified by HPLC and identified by MS.  A fluorescent label (Alexa546) was attached to the purified Nod factor by chemoselective chemistry (figure: Angelique Broghammer).
Figur 3. Bindingsassay med fluorescensmærket Nod-faktor.
1) Binding af oprenset receptorprotein til agarose-beads. Receptorproteinet udtrykkes med et GFP-mærke, og binding kan observeres ved mikroskopi. 2) Lysmikroskopi af agarose-beads. 3) Binding af fluorescensmærket Nod-faktor til receptorproteinet. 4) Overlejring af billede 1 og 3 viser, at Nod-faktor binder til det immobiliserede receptorprotein (figure: Angelique Broghammer).

2012.11.01 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Plants recognise pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms

In collaboration with national and international experts, researchers from Aarhus University have revealed new fundamental features of biomolecular interactions that enable plants to identify and respond appropriately to microorganisms. The new results provide a better understanding of the mechanisms governing the ability of plants to interact…

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.

The research team behind the results showing how how bacteria control the amount of toxin in their cells (from left): Nicholas E. Sofos, Andreas Bøggild and Ditlev E. Brodersen (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)
The toxins normally bind very strongly to the antitoxins and are thus not only inactive, but also prevent the production of more toxin from the information encoded in the bacterial DNA. During the dormant state, however, the antitoxins are degraded, and the toxins released (step 1). The free toxins now bind to unoccupied antitoxins on DNA within the area encoding the toxin-antitoxin couple (step 2). Binding increasing amounts of toxin eventually leads to the release of the molecules from the gene (steps 3 and 4) and finally to new toxin production (figure: Ditlev E. Brodersen)

2012.09.14 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

X-rays reveal the self-defence mechanisms of bacteria

A research group at Aarhus University has gained unique insight into how bacteria control the amount of toxin in their cells. The new findings can eventually lead to the development of novel forms of treatment for bacterial infections.

Atomic model of the complement protein C4 (brown) trapped in the complex with the protein-degrading enzyme MASP-2 (blue). The model shows how the MASP-2 attaches itself to the C4, which allows the MASP-2 to cleave a small portion of the C4. This makes the structure of C4 change, which enables the C4 to bind to the surface of pathogenic microorganisms, for example, or our own dying cells (Figure: Rune T. Kidmose) - click figure for enlargement.

2012.09.10 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Chain reaction in the human immune system trapped in crystals

A research team from Aarhus University has revealed details of how a chain reaction in the human immune system starts. With these results, the researchers hope to promote the development of strategies aimed at alleviating suffering caused by unintentional activation of the immune system.

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