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Dresden, Germany

The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics is a biology research institute located in Dresden, Germany. It was founded in 1998 and was fully operational in 2000. 24 research groups work in molecular, cell, and developmental biology, supported by various facilities. Wikipedia.

Simons K.,Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology | Year: 2011

Cell membranes are composed of a lipid bilayer, containing proteins that span the bilayer and/or interact with the lipids on either side of the two leaflets. Although recent advances in lipid analytics show that membranes in eukaryotic cells contain hundreds of different lipid species, the function of this lipid diversity remains enigmatic. The basic structure of cell membranes is the lipid bilayer, composed of two apposing leaflets, forming a two-dimensional liquid with fascinating properties designed to perform the functions cells require. To coordinate these functions, the bilayer has evolved the propensity to segregate its constituents laterally. This capability is based on dynamic liquid-liquid immiscibility and underlies the raft concept of membrane subcompartmentalization. This principle combines the potential for sphingolipid-cholesterol self-assembly with protein specificity to focus and regulate membrane bioactivity. Here we will review the emerging principles of membrane architecture with special emphasis on lipid organization and domain formation. Source

Schroter C.,Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
PLoS biology | Year: 2012

During vertebrate embryogenesis, the rhythmic and sequential segmentation of the body axis is regulated by an oscillating genetic network termed the segmentation clock. We describe a new dynamic model for the core pace-making circuit of the zebrafish segmentation clock based on a systematic biochemical investigation of the network's topology and precise measurements of somitogenesis dynamics in novel genetic mutants. We show that the core pace-making circuit consists of two distinct negative feedback loops, one with Her1 homodimers and the other with Her7:Hes6 heterodimers, operating in parallel. To explain the observed single and double mutant phenotypes of her1, her7, and hes6 mutant embryos in our dynamic model, we postulate that the availability and effective stability of the dimers with DNA binding activity is controlled in a "dimer cloud" that contains all possible dimeric combinations between the three factors. This feature of our model predicts that Hes6 protein levels should oscillate despite constant hes6 mRNA production, which we confirm experimentally using novel Hes6 antibodies. The control of the circuit's dynamics by a population of dimers with and without DNA binding activity is a new principle for the segmentation clock and may be relevant to other biological clocks and transcriptional regulatory networks. Source

Schroter C.,Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Current biology : CB | Year: 2010

A species-specific number of segments is a hallmark of the vertebrate body plan. The first segmental structures in the vertebrate embryo are the somites, which bud sequentially from the growing presomitic mesoderm (PSM). The Clock and Wavefront model for somitogenesis proposes that the total number of somites is determined by the period of an oscillator or clock operating in the PSM and the total duration of PSM growth. Furthermore, the number of oscillations of the segmentation clock has been suggested to regulate the regional identity of segments along the body axis. Here we test these two ideas in a zebrafish mutant in which the segmentation clock is specifically slowed. This reduces segment number as predicted, but hox gene expression and posterior anatomical markers align with lower segmental counts in mutants compared to the wild-type, arguing against an instructive role of the segmentation clock in determining axial identities. Our data therefore suggest that precise control of segmentation clock period in relation to axial growth ensures a species-specific segment number and that during evolution modulating the clock's period through genetic mutations may have been a relevant way to vary segment number independently of axial regionalization. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Tolic-Norrelykke I.M.,Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Current Opinion in Cell Biology | Year: 2010

How does a living cell deal with basic concepts of physics such as length and force? The cell has to measure distances and regulate forces to dynamically organize its interior. This is to a large extent based on microtubules (MTs) and motor proteins. Two concepts are emerging from recent studies as key to the positioning of cell components: preferred disassembly of longer MTs and preferred detachment of motors under high load force. The role of these concepts in nuclear centering and nuclear oscillations is coming to light from experimental and theoretical studies in fission yeast. These universal concepts are likely crucial for a variety of cell processes, including nuclear and mitotic spindle positioning, control of spindle length, and chromosome congression on the metaphase plate. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Amat F.,Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics | Amat F.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Nature methods | Year: 2014

The comprehensive reconstruction of cell lineages in complex multicellular organisms is a central goal of developmental biology. We present an open-source computational framework for the segmentation and tracking of cell nuclei with high accuracy and speed. We demonstrate its (i) generality by reconstructing cell lineages in four-dimensional, terabyte-sized image data sets of fruit fly, zebrafish and mouse embryos acquired with three types of fluorescence microscopes, (ii) scalability by analyzing advanced stages of development with up to 20,000 cells per time point at 26,000 cells min(-1) on a single computer workstation and (iii) ease of use by adjusting only two parameters across all data sets and providing visualization and editing tools for efficient data curation. Our approach achieves on average 97.0% linkage accuracy across all species and imaging modalities. Using our system, we performed the first cell lineage reconstruction of early Drosophila melanogaster nervous system development, revealing neuroblast dynamics throughout an entire embryo. Source

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