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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.

Atomic model of the haptoglobin-hemoglobin complex exhibiting a barbell-like structure. When strong x-ray is applied on the protein crystals, the radiation is diffracted. By measuring the intensity of diffracted radiation a 3-dimensional map of the atoms can be generated leading to a final model. Click for enlargement

2012.08.31 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Aarhus researchers solve mystery in blood

This week, a Nature paper entitled "Structure of the haptoglobin–haemoglobin complex" is authored by an interdisciplinary crowd of researchers from AU. Associate Professor Gregers Rom Andersen from MBG contributed to the project by determining the crystal structure of the haptoglobin–haemoglobin complex.

2012.08.27 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

DKK 15 millioner for a new membrane centre at Aarhus University

A group of researchers at AU have been granted DKK 15 million to create a new research centre to study the body's membrane proteins. The following researchers from the Dept. of Molecular Biology and Genetics participate in the centre: Gregers Rom Andersen, Rune Hartmann, Lene Niemann Nejsum, Poul Nissen, Claus Oxvig og Lea Thøgersen.

In collaboration with French scientists, PhD student Thomas B. Kallehauge (right) and Professor Torben Heick Jensen shed light on a phenomenon where the export of mRNA is corrupted. The study shows that mRNA retained in nuclear dots is translationally active and that such dots may function as nuclear storage sites for immature mRNA (Photo: Estelle Marchal).

2012.08.24 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

mRNA quality control mechanism prevents contamination of cells

Researchers from Aarhus University have just disclosed a new quality control mechanism that prevents contamination of cells with aberrant mRNA. This helps us to understand how mRNA quality control can act in a precautionary way to avoid the cellular spreading of toxic molecules.

Figure 1. The researchers have used the carnivorous plant the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) for their research which has resulted in the so far most comprehensive analysis of the protein composition in the digestive juice of a carnivorous plant, which contribute significantly to the understanding of prey digestion in these plants (Photo: Jan J. Enghild).
Figure 2: Workflow of the Venus flytrap digestive fluid analysis (Figure: Kristian Wejse Sanggard)

2012.08.17 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Prey digestion by the carnivorous Venus flytrap

A newly published study by researchers from Aarhus University provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the protein composition in the digestive juice of a carnivorous plant, and this contributes significantly to the understanding of prey digestion in these plants. The identified, unique digestive enzymes identified by the researchers…

Professor Peter Andreasen (left) with Professor Ming Dong Huang, Director of the State Key Laboratory of Structural Chemistry at the Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Fuzhou, where Peter Andreasen was awarded a visiting professorship.

2012.08.10 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Peter Andreasen awarded visiting professorship in China

Professor Peter Andreasen, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, is awarded a "Visiting Professorship for Senior International Scientists of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2012".

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