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A boiling sulphur pool on Iceland where Sulfolobus thrives. This is what the landscape might have looked like when life began on Earth approx. 3.5 billion years ago (Colourbox).

2020.11.25 | Research

New insights into how the CRISPR immune system evolved

With new insights into how the genetic tool CRISPR – which allows direct editing of our genes – evolved and adapted, we are now one step closer to understanding the basis of the constant struggle for survival that takes place in nature. The results can be used in future biotechnologies.

Figure: Christian Kroun Damgaard.
Left side: During normal neuronal differentiation circZNF827 is induced and fine-tunes specific neuronal gene expression by assembly of nuclear transcription regulatory complex consisting of ZNF827 (green ovals “827”) and hnRNP K/-L (blue boxes “K” and “L”). This complex limits the transcriptional output from several neuronal genes including Nerve Growth Factor Receptor (NGFR). Right side: Downregulation of circZNF827 or either of ZNF827 or hnRNP K/-L relieves the transcriptional repression to exacerbate neuronal differentiation, which is likely faulty. Figure: Christian Kroun Damgaard og Anne Kruse Hollensen.

2020.11.12 | Research

Circular RNA regulates neuronal differentiation by scaffolding an inhibitory transcription complex

In a screening for a functional impact to the neuronal differentiation process, Danish researchers identified a specific circular RNA, circZNF827, which surprisingly “taps the brake” on neurogenesis. The results provide an interesting example of co-evolution of a circRNA, and its host-encoded protein product, that regulate each other’s function,…

The research was carried out in a collaboration between researchers from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital: In the front row are the two first authors of the scientific article in <em>EMBO Reports</em> (from left): Louise Dalskov and Michelle Møhlenberg. Back (from left): Hans Jürgen Hoffmann, Christian Kanstrup Holm and Rune Hartmann. Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen.

2020.10.28 | Research

Why are some COVID-19 infected people asymptomatic?

Immune cells in the lungs are important for the immune system's recognition and fight against viruses. However, the virus that produces COVID-19 is not recognised by these cells, as the virus may hide its genomic material, and as a result the cells' immune system against the virus is not activated. This may help explain why some people with…

Poul Nissen (right) and his colleagues will establish an Infrastructure for Cryo-Electron Tomography (ICE-T) which will be embedded in the Danish National Cryo-EM Facility – EMBION – where cryo-CLEM and high-end cryo-TEMs are available. From the left: Thomas Boesen and Gregers Rom Andersen. Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen
Titan Krios2 during installation at the EMBION facility will be crucial for the workflow in ICE-T. Photo: Thomas Boesen

2020.10.09 | Grant

The cryoEM facility EMBION receives EUR 1.8 million (DKK 13.3 million) from the Novo Nordisk Foundation for large equipment

With the grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, main applicant Poul Nissen and colleagues from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and iNANO as well as partners at the Department of Biomedicine and the Department of Engineering will be able to establish an infrastructure for Cryo-Electron Tomography (ICE-T), which will also be made…

Pseudo-coloured electron micrograph depicting nanoparticles circulating in the bloodstream along with red blood cells (red) and those sequestered in endothelial cells lining the blood vessel (yellow). (Figure: Yuya Hayashi).
Fluorescently labelled 70 nm SiO2 nanoparticles were injected into the bloodstream of 3 days old transgenic zebrafish embryos and live-imaged at 3 min after the injection. The insets show schematics for the two conditions tested: control nanoparticles with a corona of endogenous proteins (orange) and nanoparticles with a pre-formed corona of fetal bovine serum (FBS) proteins (blue) and additional endogenous proteins. Control nanoparticles are rapidly captured by macrophages, while the nanoparticles with a non-self biological identity are effectively sequestered by scavenger endothelial cells. (Image: Yuya Hayashi. Adapted from Mohammad-Beigi et al. (2020) ACS Nano. Copyright 2020 American Chemical Society)
Hossein Mohammad-Beigi from iNANO (left) and Yuya Hayashi from MBG work together to tackle long-standing questions in bionanoscience using a zebrafish model (Photo: Hoda Eskandari)

2020.09.30 | Research

Zebrafish embryos help prove what happens to nanoparticles in the blood

What happens to the nanoparticles when they are injected into the bloodstream, for example, to destroy solid tumours? With new results published in ACS Nano, researchers from Aarhus University are now ready to tackle such a challenging question using zebrafish embryos as a new study model in nanomedicine and nanotoxicology.

A Danish research team shows in Nature Communications how they have developed a new approach for faster, though more in-depth studies of corona proteins, which affect the functional role of nanoparticles. The image schematizes a nanoparticle covered by corona proteins. (Image: <em>Nature Com.</em> 11, Article no. 4535 (2020))

2020.09.25 | Research

AU researchers contribute to understanding corona proteins on nanoparticles

The properties of nanoparticles are widely acknowledged and they are an important tool in pharmaceutical applications, among others. However, there is a need for deeper understanding of the protein layers accumulating on their surface, as these protein layers affect the functional role of the nanoparticles. AU researchers have developed a method…

A Danish research team describes in an article in <em>Nature Communications</em> how a well-described circular RNA molecule, which was thought to be carcinogenic, is not found in the cancer cells after all.

2020.09.21 | Research

Well-known RNA molecule is not present in cancer cells after all

A so-called circular RNA molecule, which is thought to be carcinogenic, is not present in cancer cells after all. A Danish research team has published the new results in Nature Communications.

Organoid-3 ©Agnieszka Rybak Wolf, MDCLifeTime

2020.09.09 | Research

International initiative seeks to improve healthcare through cell-based medicine

The research initiative LifeTime represents more than 50 European universities, including Aarhus University. A new Perspective article in Nature, co-authored by Jørgen Kjems from iNANO and MBG, outlines LifeTime's vision of how to revolutionize healthcare through personalised, cell-based interceptive medicine.

Tinna V. Stevnsner (Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen, AU)

2020.08.24 | People

Tinna V. Stevnsner appointed professor of ageing research

Tinna Stevnsner has been appointed Professor of Molecular Ageing Research at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University from 1 September 2020.

Magnus Kjærgaard (left) and Mateusz Dyla challenge one of the cornerstones of biochemistry, the Michaelis-Menten equation as they show that many enzymes in signalling pathways are independent of substrate concentration, because the substrate is physically connected to the enzyme. Photo: Mateusz Dyla.

2020.08.19 | Research

Move over Michaelis-Menten!

Researchers from Aarhus University challenge one of the cornerstones of biochemistry, the Michaelis-Menten equation. They show that many enzymes in signalling pathways are independent of substrate concentration, because the substrate is physically connected to the enzyme. With these results, it may one day be possible to develop drugs that not…

Scientists have discovered that legumes use small, well-defined motifs in LysM receptors to read signals produced by both pathogenic and symbiotic microbes. These findings in <em>Science</em> have enabled the researchers to reprogram the chitin immune receptor into a symbiotic receptor Figure: Christina Krönauer and Damiano Lironi.

2020.08.06 | Research

Researchers discover how plants distinguish beneficial from harmful microbes

Legume plants know their friends from their enemies, and now we know how they do it at the molecular level. Plants recognize beneficial microbes and keep harmful ones out, which is important for healthy plants production and global food security. Scientists have now discovered how legumes use small, well-defined motifs in receptor proteins to read…

Photo: Colourbox

2020.08.04 | Research

Saving people with COVID-19 by suppressing the immune system

The immune system protects us from attacks from external enemies such as bacteria and viruses, but sometimes the body fights so fiercely against external threats that people die. In COVID-19, the immune system slows the spread of viruses. New research shows that this means that damaged tissue is not repaired in the lungs, which is why many people…

The determination of the crystal structure of an exopolysaccharide receptor gives insight into how plants and microbes communicate and this knowledge can hopefully be used for more sustainable agriculture where microbes have an important role. Figure: Kasper Røjkjær Andersen.

2020.07.30 | Research

Researchers discover a new and unique class of carbohydrate receptors

An international team of researchers led by Aarhus University are the first to determine the crystal structure of an exopolysaccharide receptor. The results give insight into how plants and microbes communicate, and this knowledge can hopefully be used for more sustainable agriculture where microbes play an important role.

Virofight will develop shell-forming nanoparticles that enclose and neutralize viruses. (Ill.: Hendrik Dietz, Technical University of Munich)
Virofight is supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 funding program with 3.88 million Euro.

2020.07.13 | Grant

New research collaboration will develop nano shells that encapsulate and fight virus particles

Professor Jørgen Kjems and the consortium Virofight has received funding from the EU FET-OPEN program to advance novel antiviral treatment. Instead of targeting virus-specific proteins or enzymes by small molecules as done by current antivirals, the Virofight project will develop DNA-based nano-shells that engulf and neutralize entire viruses.…

Ebbe S. Andersen receives 10 mio from the Novo Nordisk Foundation (Photo: Lars Kruse, AU Photo)
Researchers from the Andersen Lab for Biomolecular Design who developed the RNA-based technology platform (Photo: Nestor Sampedro)
Illustration of (A) RNA origami scaffolds that can be produced in cells, (B) RNA scaffolds for enzymatic cascades, (C) Function of RNA scaffolds and sensors in cells. (Ill.: Ebbe S. Andersen)

2020.07.03 | Grant

DKK 10 million for developing nanoscale assembly lines for biotechnological production

Ebbe S. Andersen is awarded a DKK 10 million Ascending Investigator Grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Research Leader Programme. The research project aims at using recently developed RNA nanotechnology-based assembly lines, sensors and nanorobots to improve biochemical reactions inside cells. The potential outcome will be improved bacterial…

Jørgen Kjems (left) og Morten T. Venø describes in an article in PNAS, how expression of non-coding RNA changes during epileptic seizures in rodents (Photo: Anne Færch Nielsen)

2020.06.25 | Research, Knowledge exchange

Large-scale data sets identify small RNAs with a role in epilepsy

A new paper from Jørgen Kjems' group at iNANO and MBG describes how expression of non-coding RNA changes during epileptic seizures in rodents. The authors found that inhibiting a specific set of microRNAs (miRNAs) by antisense technology reduced seizure frequency in a mouse model, suggesting that these RNA molecules could serve as possible targets…

Joseph A. Lyons receives DKK 10 million from Lundbeckfonden to study lipid transport (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)

2020.06.16 | Grant

Joseph Lyons receives DKK 10 million from Lundbeckfonden to study cell membranes

Joseph Lyons is one of the nine talented researchers who will become a Lundbeckfonden fellow in 2020. And the grant that comes with the appointment enables him to establish his own research group and devote himself to research for the next five years at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics/DANDRITE, Aarhus University.

Together with researchers from The Crick Institute in the UK, Hans Henrik Gad (left) and Rune Hartmann have published results in Science describing how an immune response prevents the rebuilding of damaged lung tissue after infection with viruses such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2. Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen

2020.06.11 | Research

Signal substance that can potentially be used to treat COVID-19 also has negative effects

It is difficult wage war without causing collateral damage , and the same goes for our immune system when it has to fight viral infections, such as influenza and COVID-19. Research by a team from The Crick Institute and Aarhus University describes how an immune response prevents the rebuilding of damaged lung tissue after infection with viruses…

A project team from Aarhus University and Fida Biosystems will use advanced microfluidic techniques in the search for compounds, which can block the contact between SARS-CoV-2 virus and receptors on human cells. Click on the graphic to see it full size (Graphics by Daniel Otzen)
Daniel Otzen is heading a collaborative project with DKK 3.8 million from the Innovation Fund Denmark for combating COVID-19. Photo: Jesper Rais, AU.

2020.06.02 | Grant

Newly established cooperation receives funding to combat COVID-19

Daniel Otzen and collaborators, Jørgen Kjems and Victoria Birkedal from the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) and the company Fida Biosystems, have received DKK 3.8 million from the Innovation Fund Denmark to develop a screening system to identify drugs that are able to combat COVID-19.

2020.05.18 | Grant

Increased funding for research into the mechanisms of cholesterol uptake

With a grant of DKK 6,181,260 (USD 900,000) from the Independent Research Fund Denmark, Associate Professor Bjørn Panyella Pedersen can now increase his research efforts to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms behind cholesterol uptake.

2020.05.18 | Grant

More than DKK 23 million (USD 3.3 million) to researchers from MBG from the Independent Research Fund Denmark

The Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF) - Nature and Universe - grants DKK 23.4 million to seven researchers at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.

“An intravital microscopy image depicting blood vessels, macrophages and nanoparticles. Interested in how they move in real-time? See the movie featured at the end of this article (image: Yuya Hayashi)
Zebrafish embryos as an emerging research model for in vivo imaging and screening of nanomaterials. Transgenic lines with a cell type-specific fluorescent protein reporter allow us to study the dynamic behaviour of e.g. macrophages and how injected nanomaterials are cleared from the bloodstream in a living organism. Transmission electron microscopy approaches can then complement the real-time observations by visualising those processes at the nanoscale. Both imaging approaches are available at Aarhus University. (Image: Yuya Hayashi. Adapted from Hayashi et al. (2020) ACS Nano. Copyright 2020 American Chemical Society)

2020.05.13 | Research

Zebrafish let you see the biological fate of nanoparticles in vivo

Ever wondered if you could see through the body of a living organism and observe the dynamic interplay between cells and nanoparticles injected into the bloodstream? This is now possible as the use of transgenic zebrafish embryos now offers a unique opportunity for intravital microscopy at imaging resolutions unrivalled by existing mammalian…

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