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Teaser 1518451814

Call for nominations 2018 - Max Planck Directors

February 12, 2018
The Max Planck Society and the Max Planck Institutes are seeking nominations for Max Planck Director positions. Application deadline is April 30, 2018. [more]
Teaser 1518435139

Spore memory links different stages of the bacteriallife cycle

February 12, 2018
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology and BioQuant, the Center for “Quantitative Analysis of Molecular and Cellular Biosystems” of the University of Heidelberg have shown how “spore memory” gives rise to complex adaptive behaviors in microbes. The study was published in Nature Communications. [more]
Teaser 1518183716

The Shifting Transcriptional Response of Corn Smut Fungus

February 08, 2018
As a biotrophic fungus, Ustilago maydis (corn smut fungus) relies on living plant tissues for sustenance. Once U. maydis cells of compatible mating types fuse on a leaf surface, they produce a dikaryotic filament with a specialized infection structure—the appressorium—that penetrates epidermal cells. Initially totally encased by the plant’s plasma membrane, the fungus then grows into the mesophyll and nutrient-rich vascular tissue of its host. The infected plant cells divide rapidly and enlarge, forming tumors that are filled with fungal hyphae and, with time, fungal spores (Lanver et al., 2017). [more]
Teaser 1513852680

How enterobacteria perceive host environment: sensing osmotic upshift by the PhoQ/PhoP two-component system

December 21, 2017
Whether residing in or invading the host, enterobacteria have to deal with host-related stress conditions. These stress factors also serve as sensory cues, informing bacteria that they are present inside the host. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg have found that the PhoQ/PhoP two-component system can sense osmotic upshift, a key stimulus associated with the host. Their work was published this week in the journal PNAS. [more]
Teaser 1513761124

Noisy signaling in a bacterial network

December 19, 2017
Cells being small, their signalling protein networks, on which they rely to monitor environmental conditions, are subject to strong noise, influencing the perception and thus cell behaviour. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg and their collaborator from the Racah Institute for Physics have developed an experimental setup to follow the activity of a sensory pathway in individual Escherichia coli cells over time. They showed how noisy enzymatic reactions and thermal noise amplified by cooperative sensory arrays of receptors generate temporal fluctuations in bacterial signalling thus inducing behavioural variability in this bacterium. Their results appeared in eLife on December 12. 2017. [more]
Teaser 1511962725

New insights into the bacterial cytoskeleton: bactofilin polymers organize the chromosome segregation machinery in Myxococcus xanthus

November 28, 2017
Bacteria have evolved complex regulatory systems to control their internal architecture. A collaborative study by scientists at Philipps University Marburg and the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology has now revealed a novel mechanism to position the chromosome and the machinery mediating chromosome segregation in the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus[more]
Teaser 1510058996

How Vibrio cholerae finds its way: A key piece of the puzzle solved

November 07, 2017
Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera disease, is able to swim by means of a polar flagellum. Swimming is used to find new areas in which the bacterium can grow and importantly to find food, but also to escape from obnoxious substances. When in search of food, bacteria swim toward the highest concentration of food molecules in the environment by a process called chemotaxis. Since the ability to perform chemotaxis is vital for the spreading of many bacterial species in the environment and important for the ability of many human pathogens – like V. cholerae – to cause disease, it is important to learn how this process is regulated, in order to potentially stop the spread of infectious bacteria and prevent human infections. The correct placement of the apparatus responsible for chemotactic behavior within the cell – the chemotaxis array - is very important for the bacterium’s ability to perform chemotaxis. Therefore, it is important to understand the processes that are responsible for where and when chemotaxis arrays are positioned in the cell. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Marburg have discovered how V. cholerae positions the chemotaxis arrays to its cell poles. Their results were recently published in the journal eLife. [more]
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