From The MPG Institute of Molecular Cell Biology [MPG Institut für Molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik](MPI-CBG)](DE): “Protein friends”


From The MPG Institute of Molecular Cell Biology [MPG Institut für Molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik](MPI-CBG)](DE)

7.6.22

Protein friends

Clusters of proteins can form in solutions with concentrations that are well below the threshold for phase separation and the formation of biomolecular condensates.

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Phase Separation of Proteins. Schematic showing the diverse spectrum of species whose sizes and abundance grow continuously with concentration even below threshold concentration of condensate formation. The grey scale represents the protein concentration. © Mrityunjoy Kar and Rohit Pappu.

Every cell contains millions of protein molecules. Some of them have the ability to phase separate to form non-membrane-bound compartments inside the cell, known as biomolecular condensates. The research group of Anthony Hyman, director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden, Germany, discovered that these condensates are widespread in biology and that they are relevant to diverse cellular functions. It has been assumed so far that below threshold concentration of phase separation protein remains soluble in solution.

In a current study from the research labs of Anthony Hyman (MPI-CBG) and Rohit Pappu at Washington University in St. Louis, USA, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Cambridge, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, and Technische Universität Dresden in the journal PNAS, researchers uncovered surprising results in the behavior of key proteins in solutions with ultralow concentrations of phase separating proteins. “In living cells, concentrations of phase-separating proteins are often lower than the measured threshold concentrations required to form condensates. The inference to date has been that these so-called under-saturated solutions feature proteins dispersed as unassembled entities. However, our experiments tell us otherwise. We find, rather surprisingly, that subsaturated solutions include a diverse spectrum of species that we refer to as clusters,” says Mrityunjoy Kar, a researcher in the Hyman lab and lead author of the study, and continues: “The clusters are not biomolecular condensates delineated by a phase boundary.” Furqan Dar, the PhD student in the Pappu lab, adds: “The process of cluster formation, anticipated by theories and computations based on the physics of associative polymers, involves the continuous evolution of cluster sizes and distributions with increasing concentration.”

The function of these protein clusters is still unknown and will be the subject of future studies. “Our findings highlight the totality of species that can form by proteins that are drivers of phase separation. Clearly, the next steps require that we determine the functions of clusters in subsaturated solutions because these concentrations at which they form are relevant in live cells,” says Rohit Pappu. “Knowing that such clusters exist opens the door to assessing their functional relevance,” concludes Anthony Hyman.

See the full article here .

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We are The MPG Institute of Molecular Cell Biology [MPG Institut für Molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik] (MPI-CBG)](DE)

We do pioneering basic research. 500 curiosity-driven scientists from over 50 countries ask: How do cells form tissues? Our research programs span multiple scales of magnitude, from molecular assemblies to organelles, cells, tissues, organs, and organisms.

MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.] is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes founded in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and renamed the Max Planck Society in 1948 in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck. The society is funded by the federal and state governments of Germany as well as other sources.

According to its primary goal, the MPG Society supports fundamental research in the natural, life and social sciences, the arts and humanities in its 83 (as of January 2014) MPG Institutes. The society has a total staff of approximately 17,000 permanent employees, including 5,470 scientists, plus around 4,600 non-tenured scientists and guests. Society budget for 2015 was about €1.7 billion.

The MPG Institutes focus on excellence in research. The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and is generally regarded as the foremost basic research organization in Europe and the world. In 2013, the Nature Publishing Index placed the MPG institutes fifth worldwide in terms of research published in Nature journals (after Harvard University, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and The National Institutes of Health). In terms of total research volume (unweighted by citations or impact), the Max Planck Society is only outranked by The Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN), The Russian Academy of Sciences [Росси́йская акаде́мия нау́к](RU) and Harvard University. The Thomson Reuters-Science Watch website placed the MPG Society as the second leading research organization worldwide following Harvard University, in terms of the impact of the produced research over science fields.

The MPG Society and its predecessor Kaiser Wilhelm Society hosted several renowned scientists in their fields, including Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and Albert Einstein.

History

The organization was established in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG), a non-governmental research organization named for the then German emperor. The KWG was one of the world’s leading research organizations; its board of directors included scientists like Walther Bothe, Peter Debye, Albert Einstein, and Fritz Haber. In 1946, Otto Hahn assumed the position of President of KWG, and in 1948, the society was renamed the Max Planck Society (MPG) after its former President (1930–37) Max Planck, who died in 1947.

The MPG Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings of non-university research institutions (based on international peer review by academics) placed the MPG Society as No.1 in the world for science research, and No.3 in technology research (behind AT&T Corporation and The DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

The domain mpg.de attracted at least 1.7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.

MPG Institutes and research groups

The MPG Society consists of over 80 research institutes. In addition, the society funds a number of Max Planck Research Groups (MPRG) and International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS). The purpose of establishing independent research groups at various universities is to strengthen the required networking between universities and institutes of the Max Planck Society.
The research units are primarily located across Europe with a few in South Korea and the U.S. In 2007, the Society established its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University (US) focusing on neuroscience.
The MPG Institutes operate independently from, though in close cooperation with, the universities, and focus on innovative research which does not fit into the university structure due to their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature or which require resources that cannot be met by the state universities.

Internally, MPG Institutes are organized into research departments headed by directors such that each MPI has several directors, a position roughly comparable to anything from full professor to department head at a university. Other core members include Junior and Senior Research Fellows.

In addition, there are several associated institutes:

International Max Planck Research Schools

International Max Planck Research Schools

Together with the Association of Universities and other Education Institutions in Germany, the Max Planck Society established numerous International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) to promote junior scientists:

• Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research, Cologne
• International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems, at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems located in Tübingen and Stuttgart
• International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (Uncertainty School), at the Max Planck Institutes for Economics, for Human Development, and/or Research on Collective Goods
• International Max Planck Research School for Analysis, Design and Optimization in Chemical and Biochemical Process Engineering, Magdeburg
• International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics, Heidelberg at the MPI for Astronomy
• International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics, Garching at the MPI for Astrophysics
• International Max Planck Research School for Complex Surfaces in Material Sciences, Berlin
• International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science, Saarbrücken
• International Max Planck Research School for Earth System Modeling, Hamburg
• International Max Planck Research School for Elementary Particle Physics, Munich, at the MPI for Physics
• International Max Planck Research School for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Marburg at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
• International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology, Plön at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology
• International Max Planck Research School “From Molecules to Organisms”, Tübingen at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
• International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
• International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Hannover and Potsdam MPI for Gravitational Physics
• International Max Planck Research School for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research
• International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Berlin at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
• International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Nijmegen
• International Max Planck Research School for Neurosciences, Göttingen
• International Max Planck Research School for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience, Tübingen
• International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (MarMic), joint program of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, the University of Bremen, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and the Jacobs University Bremen
• International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Hamburg
• International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Freiburg
• International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, Munich
• International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Göttingen
• International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering, Dresden
• International Max Planck Research School Molecular Biomedicine, program combined with the ‘Graduate Programm Cell Dynamics And Disease’ at the University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine
• International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems, Potsdam
• International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, at the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
• International Max Planck Research School on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions (IMPRS RECHARGE), Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion
• International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nano-Systems, Halle at Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics
• International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen hosted by MPI for Solar System Research
• International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Bonn, at the MPI for Radio Astronomy (formerly the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy)
• International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne
• International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at Max Planck Institute for Iron Research GmbH
• International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, Hamburg

Max Planck Schools

• Max Planck School of Cognition
• Max Planck School Matter to Life
• Max Planck School of Photonics

Max Planck Center

• The Max Planck Centre for Attosecond Science (MPC-AS), POSTECH Pohang
• The Max Planck POSTECH Center for Complex Phase Materials, POSTECH Pohang

Max Planck Institutes

Among others:
• Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology of Behavior – caesar, Bonn
• Max Planck Institute for Aeronomics in Katlenburg-Lindau was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in 2004;
• Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen was closed in 2005;
• Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology in Ladenburg b. Heidelberg was closed in 2003;
• Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena was renamed to the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in 2014;
• Max Planck Institute for Ionospheric Research in Katlenburg-Lindau was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Aeronomics in 1958;
• Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, Stuttgart
• Max Planck Institute of Oceanic Biology in Wilhelmshaven was renamed to Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology in 1968 and moved to Ladenburg 1977;
• Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich merged into the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in 2004;
• Max Planck Institute for Protein and Leather Research in Regensburg moved to Munich 1957 and was united with the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in 1977;
• Max Planck Institute for Virus Research in Tübingen was renamed as Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in 1985;
• Max Planck Institute for the Study of the Scientific-Technical World in Starnberg (from 1970 until 1981 (closed)) directed by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and Jürgen Habermas.
• Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology
• Max Planck Institute of Experimental Endocrinology
• Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law
• Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics
• Max Planck Research Unit for Enzymology of Protein Folding
• Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing