Understanding a key player in melanoma

Hamburg, 06 December 2019

A new paper describes the mechanism that the transcription factor MITF, a key member of the MIT/TFE family, uses for selecting its partners. It is the result of a collaboration between the groups of Matthias Wilmanns, Head of EMBL Hamburg, and Eiríkur Steingrímsson from the University of Iceland, Reykjavík, and new chair of the EMBL Council. MITF plays a key role in the development of Melanoma. Understanding its function could be key for treating this disease. more

Source Article

Pogenberg V, Ballesteros-Álvarez J, Schober R, Sigvaldadóttir I, Obarska-Kosinska A, Milewski M, Schindl R, Ögmundsdóttir MH, Steingrímsson E, Wilmanns M, Nucleic Acids Research, gkz1104, 28 November 2019. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkz1104

Cell death trigger in tuberculosis bacteria

Hamburg, 18 February 2019

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. The genome of the bacterium that causes TB holds a special toxin-antitoxin system with spectacular action: once the toxin is activated, all bacterial cells die, stopping the disease. A research team co-led by the Wilmanns group at EMBL in Hamburg investigated this promising feature for therapeutic targets, and now shares the first high-resolution details of the system in Molecular Cell. more

Source Article

Freire D M, Gutierrez C et al. Molecular Cell, 18 February 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.01.028

Structure of key system for TB infection

Hamburg, 11 April 2017

In a paper published in Nature Microbiology, the Wilmanns group at EMBL together with scientists from across Europe reveal the overall architecture of an assembly of proteins known as Type VII secretion systems found in a group of bacteria which cause diseases such as tuberculosis. more

Source Article

Beckham K S H et al. Nature Microbiology, 10 April 2017. DOI: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2017.47

Enzyme with a dual-purpose loop

Hamburg, 10 May 2016

A closer look at the 3D molecular structure of Death Associated Protein Kinases (DAPK) reveals an unexpected dual-purpose loop in the folded string of amino acids. Work by researchers in the Wilmann’s group at EMBL Hamburg, published in Structure, suggests that the small loop is crucial for dimer formation and calmodulin binding. “What started as a small side project, unearthed a complex and important signaling pathway within this group of kinases,” says Matthias Wilmanns, “It goes to show, you can’t always plan science!”. more

Source Article

Simon B et al. Structure, 28 April 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.str.2016.03.020

The cellular crystal factory

Hamburg, 18 January 2016

Scientists from the Wilmanns group have teamed up with experts across the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) research campus in Hamburg and at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California to show that naturally formed crystals can diffract X-rays. The first crystals successfully analysed with a free-electron laser inside the cells that produced them are unlikely to be the last. more

Source Article

Jakobi A J et al. IUCrJ. DOI: 10.1107/S2052252515022927

CSSB opens its doors

EMBL News - Hamburg, 06 July 2017
On 29 June, at a ceremony in front of 700 guests, the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) in Hamburg, was officially opened. At the event on the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) Campus in Hamburg, Helmut Dosch, Chairman of the DESY Board of Directors, presented Head of EMBL Hamburg and CSSB Scientific Director Matthias Wilmanns with a key to the building in front of the assembled guests. more

Better tools for exploring TB protein structures

EMBL News - Hamburg, 24 March 2016
Information about the 3D structure of Mtb proteins involved in the infection process of tuberculosis can provide crucial clues for designing new drugs. However, Mtb proteins are not easy subjects for structural biology studies, and as a result relatively few have been characterised in detail. The need for improved methodology is driving efforts by the Wilmanns’ group at EMBL in Hamburg, who have optimised methods for producing the proteins in the laboratory, and now hope to share this knowledge with other structural biologists. more

Better together

Press Release - Heidelberg, 19 February 2015
A paper published today in the journal PLoS Pathogens by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Hamburg, Germany, and collaborators demonstrates the power of bringing together specialists in different areas to tackle complex problems. By joining forces, the multidisciplinary team uncovered a surprise about the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. more

CSSB foundation stone ceremony

EMBL News - Hamburg, 02 September 2014
On 29 August, Hamburg’s science senator Dorothee Stapelfeldt, secretary of state in Lower Saxony’s science ministry Andrea Hoops, and founding director of the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) Matthias Wilmanns, together with representatives of the CSSB partners, laid the foundation stone for the new Centre’s research building. more

Matthias Wilmanns elected to the Leopoldina

EMBL News - Hamburg, 22 May 2014
On 22 May, Head of EMBL Hamburg, Matthias Wilmanns was officially inaugurated as a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. The ceremony took place at the National Academy of Sciences in Halle as part of the Academy’s annual life sciences symposium. more

Strengthening ties with Swedish research institutes

EMBL Hamburg News - Stockholm, 20 May 2014
On Tuesday 20th May, Head of EMBL Hamburg Matthias Wilmanns joined other representatives from Hamburg science research institutions, including DESY Director Helmut Dosch and Dean of the UKE Medical Faculty Uwe Koch-Gromus, on a visit to Stockholm in Sweden. Headed by Hamburg’s first Mayor Olaf Scholz and Hamburg’s science senator Dorothee Stapelfeld, the main focus of the delegation was to strengthen ties with Swedish research institutes. more

EMBL and UKE sign collaboration agreement

EMBL News - Hamburg, 06 May 2014
In a celebratory symposium on Tuesday 29 April, representatives from EMBL and the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE), Hamburg, met on the UKE campus to kick-start a new era of collaboration between the two institutes. The main aim is to join forces in biomedical research and training activities by way of a strategic bilateral partnership. Part of this involves the start of a joint PhD programme, whereby EMBL PhD students can now defend their thesis at UKE as a recognised partner institute. more

EMBL Hamburg and EMBL Grenoble celebrate 10 years of successful bilateral meetings

EMBL Hamburg News - Grenoble, 02 April 2014
On the 2nd of April scientists, engineers and technicians from EMBL Hamburg and Grenoble met in Grenoble to celebrate 10 years of successful collaborations. Every year the units hold a bilateral meeting with the aim of supporting the active collaboration on projects and instrumentation design by those working on the EMBL beamlines at the ESRF and DESY campuses. The celebratory symposium, organized by the Heads of the EMBL Units – Matthias Wilmanns from EMBL Hamburg, and Stephen Cusack from EMBL Grenoble - showcased and acknowledged the efforts made by the meeting participants over the years and highlighted success stories of the work done by members from both sites. more

Spearheading the study of infectious diseases

EMBL News - Hamburg, 13 January 2014
Matthias Wilmanns, Head of EMBL Hamburg, has today been appointed founding director of the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB). At this interdisciplinary research centre, biologists, physicists and physicians will join forces, bringing together state-of-the-art structural biology, infection biology and systems biology approaches to investigate infectious diseases. more

Head of EMBL Hamburg appointed founding director of new centre

EMBL Hamburg News - Hamburg, 13 January 2014
Matthias Wilmanns, head of EMBL Hamburg has been appointed founding director of the new Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) currently being built on the DESY campus in Hamburg, Bahrenfeld. In a meeting on the 10th of January, the CSSB scientific committee, comprising representatives from each of the nine partner institutions, was established and Wilmanns named as the new founding director. more

Learning from the linker

Press Release - Hamburg, 04 February 2013
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) represent a milestone in stem cell research, however many of the biochemical processes that underlie reprogramming are still not understood. Scientists from the EMBL Hamburg and from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, Germany now shed new light on this process. In a study published today in Nature Cell Biology, the scientists describe important details about the structure of the transcription factor Oct4, known to play a crucial role in the reprogramming of terminally differentiated cells. more

Unzipping melanocyte regulation

EMBL News - Hamburg, 01 December 2012
Scientists from EMBL Hamburg have resolved the structure of a transcription factor crucial in the development of melanoma. The data published today in the journal Genes and Development provide a rational basis for the treatment of important hereditary diseases and cancer by targeting MITF. more

Head of EMBL Hamburg and Major of Hamburg attend 7th Hanseatic Indian Colloquium in Mumbai

EMBL Hamburg News - Mumbai, 22 October 2012
Last week Matthias Wilmanns, head of EMBL Hamburg, joined the first Major of Hamburg Olaf Scholz and colleagues from Hamburg Life Sciences industries in Mumbai, on the last leg of their tour of India organized by the North German Life Sciences Agency Norgenta. In Mumbai the delegation participated in the 7th Hanseatic Indian Colloquium where discussion focused on opportunities for Indo-German collaboration in drug development and research. more

Looking back at the first year of BioStruct-X

EMBL Hamburg News - Hamburg, 01 October 2012
The end of the first year of the EU project BioStruct-X coordinated by Matthias Wilmanns at EMBL Hamburg was marked by the first annual meeting held in Oxford, UK from the 26th – 27th September 2012. The project which will run until September 2015 involves 19 partners from 11 countries and provides integrated transnational user access to 44 European synchrotron radiation installations. more

New structural data reveal molecular mechanisms of kidney disease

EMBL Hamburg News - Hamburg, 01 May 2012
Scientists at EMBL Hamburg have published new data this week which could become useful in improving treatments of certain types of kidney disease. Krisztian Fodor from the Wilmanns Group at EMBL Hamburg worked on an enzyme known as AGT, the malfunction of which is known to be important in the development of the kidney disease PH1. The structure of the AGT enzyme in complex with its receptor molecule showed that receptor recognition highly depends on a properly folded protein and revealed how mutations can lead to irreversible kidney damage. The researchers hope this knowledge can lead to improvements in the treatment of the disease. more

Stretching helices help keep muscles together

Press Release - Hamburg, 14 February 2012
Scientists at EMBL Hamburg have discovered that the elastic part of myomesin, a protein that links muscle filaments, can stretch to two and a half times its original length, unfolding in a way that was hitherto unknown. The work is published today in PLoS Biology. more

New structure sheds light on protein modification processes

EMBL Hamburg News - Hamburg, 16 November 2011
Scientists at EMBL Hamburg have solved the structure of an enzyme complex which sheds light onto the process of post-translational protein modification in eukaryotic cells. Members of the Wilmanns Group have used structural biology and biochemistry to define the role of the Pex4p:Pex22p complex – an active member of the protein ubiquitination process occurring at the peroxisomal membrane. more

Two in one

Press Release - Hamburg, 14 February 2011
Scientists from EMBL Hamburg reveal new insights into the workings of an enzyme from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. The findings present new opportunities for developing organism-specific drugs, which target the pathogen but leave other microorganisms, which are beneficial to us, untouched. more

How to shoot the messenger

Press Release - Hamburg, 26 January 2010
By determining the structure of DAPK bound to calmodulin, scientists from EMBL Hamburg have found a way to hack into a vital cellular communications system, raising the possibility of developing new drugs to tackle disorders like neurodegeneration, cancer and cardiovascular disease. more