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structural biology

Year
19 June 2024 In the centre: green angular origami-like shapes stacked on top of each other. Small orange rectangles akin to adhesive tape are placed where the green shapes connect with each other. In the background: a circle in the middle and cancer cells on the left and right.

‘Invisible’ protein keeps cancer at bay

Science & Technology EMBL Hamburg scientists and collaborators discovered a new molecular mechanism in which an unstructured protein disables one of the main cancer-promoting proteins by gluing them into an elongated stack. Data from human patient samples support the role of this mechanism in prostate cancer…

2024

science-technology

24 May 2024

Stephen Cusack: what I’ve learned

People & Perspectives Stephen Cusack, world-renowned structural biologist and former Head of EMBL Grenoble, reflects on his early influences, his achievements, and the lessons he’s learned as he embarks on his next adventure

2024

people-perspectives

21 December 2023 On the left: image of a protein complex in a shape of a yellow doughnut with blue elements. Above it is a drawing of nucleic acid with arrows connecting nitrogenous bases to different points in the protein complex. On the right: a line with peaks indicating the peaks recorded in mass spectrometry. Above two peaks, there are smaller depictions of the doughnut-shaped complex, one with a blue element and one without.

RNA to rule them all

Science, Science & Technology The Kosinski Group at EMBL Hamburg collaborated with other groups in Hamburg to reveal critical steps in Lassa virus ribonucleoparticle assembly and recruitment, and the crucial role played by RNA in in the Lassa virus life cycle.

2023

sciencescience-technology

15 November 2023 Illustration showing a doorknob with a lock and many protein-marked keys floating towards it.

The secret of molecular promiscuity

EMBLetc Promiscuity is critical for nourishment. How? This question lies at the focus of research by the Löw Group at EMBL Hamburg. Using structural biology methods, they explore how specialised molecules located in the cell membrane allow cells absorb nutrients from their environment.

2023

6 September 2023 A drawing of swordfish and a bubble containing a drawing of a molecular model. Both on blue background representing water.

Swordfish sword under X-rays: SAXS explained

Science, Science & Technology Learn how scientists use bio-SAXS, an experimental X-ray technique, to study the shape and dynamics of proteins and other biomolecules. SAXS can be even used to analyse the structure of mineral particles in the swordfish sword bone, which can help scientists better understand bone ageing.

2023

sciencescience-technology

8 August 2023 Clément Blanchet at the EMBL Hamburg’s P12 beamline’s experimental hutch.

Welcome: Clément Blanchet

Lab Matters, People & Perspectives Clément Blanchet has been appointed to lead the team working on small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) at EMBL Hamburg. In this interview, he talks his ambitions for the future work of the SAXS Team, his passion for science, and a memorable ‘aha’ moment he had in his early career.

2023

lab-matterspeople-perspectives

3 July 2023 In the foreground: an intrinsically disordered protein, which has a form of a tangled, unstructured string. In the background: a set of parallel curved lines.

Bringing research on disordered proteins to order

Science, Science & Technology A third of all known proteins are either completely or partially unstructured. EMBL scientists contributed to a new set of guidelines – Minimum Information About a Disorder Experiment (MIADE) – that will help researchers share data on unstructured proteins in a more useful way and will enable…

2023

sciencescience-technology

15 May 2023 Two scientists in a laboratory

Behind the scenes of innovation

EMBLetc EMBL Grenoble technology teams provide a sneak peek into their latest collaborative project in structural biology services: the complete automation of an integral step in X-ray crystallography.

2023

10 May 2023 Illustration showing a cute humanoid-shaped robot that spits pink droplets at a sheet.

Time-resolved crystallography for the masses

Science, Science & Technology EMBL Hamburg scientists have contributed to the development of the Spitrobot, a ground-breaking experimental setup that will simplify creating molecular movies. The Spitrobot automates the sample preparation for time-resolved crystallography, which is used to create 3D snapshots of protein…

2023

sciencescience-technology

1 March 2023 Moisés Bueno is standing next to the transfer robot. The robot has a form of a yellow robotic arm on a stand. Behind is the CrystalDirect™ Harvester, which is a white cuboid with two transparent dimmed windows for laser protection.

Biology meets engineering

Lab Matters, Science & Technology Physicists, engineers and robotics experts work together in EMBL Hamburg’s Instrumentation Team to design instruments that support structural biology research. The team has finished a transfer robot that facilitates automated handling of protein crystals with care and precision. This will help…

2023

lab-mattersscience-technology

12 December 2022 A mother and her child looking through a microscope

Celebrating science in Grenoble

Connections, Lab Matters In October 2022, EMBL Grenoble participated in the annual science outreach event Parvis des Sciences, organised by the GIANT campus under the umbrella of the French science week – La Fête de la science.

2022

connectionslab-matters

10 June 2022 A colourful structural model of the doughnut-shaped human nuclear pore complex seen from above.

Puzzling out the structure of a molecular giant

Science, Science & Technology Scientists have solved several mysteries around the structure and function of a true molecular giant: the human nuclear pore complex. They created the most complete model of the complex thanks to combining the program AlphaFold2 with cryo-electron tomography, integrative modelling, molecular…

2022

sciencescience-technology

5 May 2022 Colourful vertical panels each show different microscopic images possible with the high-tech tools in EMBL's Imaging Centre

Enabling imaging across scales

EMBL Announcements, Events EMBL’s first Imaging Centre Symposium will occur onsite at EMBL and include tours of the new Imaging Centre on 31 May, introducing participants to the facility and its staff and featuring talks on the rapid developments in imaging technologies that have led to notable biological and medical…

2022

embl-announcementsevents

27 April 2022 Portrait of Kristina Djinović-Carugo

Next Head of EMBL Grenoble appointed

EMBL Announcements, Lab Matters Professor Kristina Djinović-Carugo has been appointed as the next head of EMBL Grenoble. She will join EMBL in July from the Max Perutz Laboratories at the University of Vienna, where she is currently Head of the Department of Structural and Computational Biology and full Professor of Structural…

2022

embl-announcementslab-matters

1 February 2022 A photograph of the Amazonian lancehead snake Bothrops atrox

Decoding the secrets of snake venom

Science, Science & Technology EMBL Hamburg’s Grzegorz Chojnowski from the Wilmanns Group developed software called findMySequence, which identifies proteins’ amino-acid sequences based on electron cryo-microscopy and X-ray crystallography data. It’s useful for identifying unknown proteins in samples from natural sources.

2022

sciencescience-technology

22 December 2021 Scientific illustrations of MEG3, a very large RNA involved in cell proliferation. IAB and EMBL logos are located in the center of the illustration.

EMBL-IAB collaboration on the rise

Connections, Lab Matters The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between EMBL and the Institute for Advanced Biosciences (IAB) a year ago has already catalysed new grants for joint research projects related to cancer and infection biology, thereby deepening collaborative activities.

2021

connectionslab-matters

21 December 2021 A model of the doughnut-shaped nuclear pore complex. Individual molecules are marked in various colours.

Observing the secret life of molecules inside the cell

Science, Science & Technology EMBL Hamburg’s Kosinski Group, the Beck Laboratory at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, and colleagues at EMBL Heidelberg recorded the nuclear pore complex contracting in living cells. They visualised the movement with an unprecedented level of detail with help of new software called…

2021

sciencescience-technology

20 December 2021 A detailed structure map shows two proteins interacting in the foreground, each shown in a different colour. The background shows small green dots marking bacteria

Solving molecular puzzles to find the perfect fit

Science, Science & Technology Using cryo-EM and structural biology techniques, EMBL researchers have shown how two proteins of Legionella pneumophila interact. This finding sheds light on a mechanism critical to the infection process and could lead to the development of new drugs to treat pneumonia.

2021

sciencescience-technology

7 December 2021 A cartoon image showing a person's arm and a needle with a vaccine being injected into it. The text on the left reads: "EMBL research: How structural biologists at EMBL Hamburg help to develop and improve RNA vaccines"

How structural biology helps to make RNA vaccines

Science, Science & Technology RNA vaccines, such as the ones for COVID-19, represent a new approach in vaccine technology. Cy Jeffries, faculty staff scientist at EMBL Hamburg, explains the clever technology behind RNA vaccines, and how structural biology contributes to its development. EMBL Hamburg collaborated on several…

2021

sciencescience-technology

29 November 2021 Male scientist in front of blurred woodland background

Welcome: Niccolò Banterle

Lab Matters, People & Perspectives Using gene editing and three types of microscopy, one of EMBL’s newest group leaders is deciphering the functions of one of the smallest molecules involved in cell division, motility, and signalling, known as a centriole.

2021

lab-matterspeople-perspectives

5 November 2021 A headshot photo of Ken Holmes from July 2021

Ken Holmes

Alumni, People & Perspectives Ken Holmes, outstanding pioneer of structural biology and founder of EMBL´s Hamburg site, died on 2 November 2021 at the age of 87.

2021

alumnipeople-perspectives

15 October 2021 In the middle, there are two molecules of pUL21. One is blurred, to represent the molecule’s flexibility. In the background are two neuronal scenes. The one on the left is healthy and has a smooth surface. The one on the right is infected, which is represented by several green viral particles.

How herpes seizes proteins’ means of production

Science, Science & Technology The Graham and Crump groups at the University of Cambridge and the Svergun Group at EMBL Hamburg have discovered a mechanism by which the herpes simplex virus takes control of the molecular machinery of human cells. Their work reveals how a dedicated viral protein hijacks key host proteins, forcing…

2021

sciencescience-technology

13 July 2021 From right to left, Ilaria Piazza and Ken Holmes’ portraits are side by side in circles on a greenish background

EMBL Alumni Awards 2021

Alumni, People & Perspectives EMBL alumni Ilaria Piazza and Ken Holmes have been recognised for their outstanding contributions, and will receive their awards as part of the celebrations for EMBL World Alumni Day.

2021

alumnipeople-perspectives

21 May 2021 Image of a mosquito on a clear surface

EMBL scientists support malaria research

Science, Science & Technology EMBL scientists support research on malaria by providing freely available data resources and using innovative experimental approaches. Our Course and Conference Office facilitates the exchange of knowledge in the field by hosting the annual BioMalPar conference.

2021

sciencescience-technology

30 March 2021 A close-up photo of a shiny droplet of liquid that has been placed into one of the wells of a crystallisation plate.

Droplet beauty

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Scientists at EMBL Hamburg use droplets of protein solution to grow protein crystals. By exposing the crystals to X-rays, they are able to determine the protein’s molecular structure.

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

9 February 2021 Crystal cubes seen through a microscope

Purity, beauty, and perfection

Picture of the week, Science & Technology The regular structures of crystals are a source of inspiration and fascination to us humans. While the crystals in this picture were not grown in nature, but instead by Petra Drncova from EMBL Grenoble, they share the same attributes as those found in nature.

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

7 December 2020 Female scientist stands in front of electron microscope that is taller than she is

Seeing deeper inside cells

Science, Science & Technology While cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) was first envisioned in 1968, the advances the Mahamid group are bringing to this 3D method for studying molecules directly inside cells are new, and are likely to greatly expand its use.

2020

sciencescience-technology

3 September 2020 Left: Slice of a cell in grey. Right: Two 3D reconstructions of parts of the slice, showing the internal structure.

Nuclear pores in their natural context

Science, Science & Technology Scientists from the Beck group have studied the 3D structure of nuclear pores in budding yeast. They show how the architecture of the nuclear pore complex differs inside cells compared to its form observed in vitro studies.

2020

sciencescience-technology

9 June 2020 This image shows the structure of a bacterial group II intron

Genetic cut and paste at atomic resolution

Science, Science & Technology Researchers in the Marcia group at EMBL Grenoble and the De Vivo lab at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa have obtained some of the most detailed ever snapshots of the splicing process in systems known as group II self-splicing introns. The new insights will help scientists to develop…

2020

sciencescience-technology

27 May 2020 Automated sample changer and diffractometer at the ID30B X-ray crystallography beamline at ESRF Grenoble.

Facilitating COVID-19 structural biology research

Connections, Science EMBL and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) restart the activities of the Joint Structural Biology Group in Grenoble to support coronavirus-related projects. A new initiative will allow users to be granted access to the High-Throughput Crystallisation (HTX) lab at EMBL and to a…

2020

connectionsscience

11 May 2020

EMBL SPC facility supports COVID-19 projects

Science, Science & Technology The Sample Preparation and Characterisation Facility (SPC) at EMBL Hamburg reopens to support scientists working on Covid-19 research. The SPC Facility is one of the best equipped facilities in Europe is therefore in high demand from external users. Re-opening the facility also allows experts at…

2020

sciencescience-technology

28 April 2020 Close-up view of the interior of a protein analytics system

Exploring synthetic antibodies to stop coronavirus

Science, Science & Technology Scientists at EMBL Hamburg and Karolinska Institutet Stockholm aim to find synthetic antibodies – known as nanobodies – that bind a surface protein of the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Nanobodies could prevent the virus from entering human cells and causing COVID-19.

2020

sciencescience-technology

21 May 2015

It runs in the family

Science Detailed structural study shows distantly related viruses share a common machinery for replication.

2015

science

7 May 2015

Taking out the trash

Science Unveiling the shape of... the 'molecular bin man' – cryoEM helps reveals p62 polymer in 3D.

2015

science

6 April 2015

Bypassing errors

Science Coin toss inspires CorMap: a new statistical test that sidesteps need for error estimation.

2015

science

27 January 2015 Building blocks TAF8 (blue), TAF10 (green) and TAF2 (not shown) form a module in the cytoplasm before entering the nucleus to form TFIID. IMAGE: EMBL/I.BERGER

Come together

Science First experimental proof that a key cellular machine forms by uniting pre-assembled modules.

2015

science

26 January 2015

Light years ahead

Science As EMBL Hamburg celebrates 40 years, we explore the past, present and future of crystallography.

2015

science

11 December 2014

Lighting the way

Events EMBL Hamburg celebrates four decades of vision, pioneering research and beamline services.

2014

events

5 December 2014

Four decades at EMBL

Alumni Employee number 47 retires, leaving behind a legacy that intricately linked her life with EMBL.

2014

alumni

28 November 2014

MASSIF step forward

Science In two months, 2.3 million diffraction images collected on new, fully automated ESRF/EMBL beamline.

2014

science

19 November 2014

20 years in the making

Science First complete picture of flu virus polymerase. A story of two decades of blood, sweat and sneezes.

2014

science

18 November 2014 Kyung-Min Noh. PHOTO: EMBL/M.SCHUPP

Welcome: Kyung-Min Noh

Science The important thing is forming good biological questions, says new group leader in Genome Biology.

2014

science

18 November 2014

On a SAXS quest

Events Course attendees go hunting (protein) aliens in a quest for optimal SAXS data.

2014

events

20 October 2014

Breaking boundaries

Science How Nobel-winning work by alumnus Stefan Hell shapes and inspires current EMBL scientists' research.

2014

science

20 August 2014

Binding bracelet

Science Vasa protein preserves pieces of 'enemy' DNA to help protect the genes of future generations.

2014

science

1 July 2014 Illustration: Aad Goudappel, Rotterdam

Five for the future

Lab Matters Scientists from EMBL's five sites reflect on the opportunities and challenges that might lie ahead

2014

lab-matters

13 October 2013

Choreographed origami

Science, Science & Technology An important step in building ribosomes – the cell’s protein factories – is like a strictly choreographed dance, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have discovered. To build these factories, other ‘machines’ inside the cell have to…

2013

sciencescience-technology

6 January 2013

Protein production: going viral

Science, Science & Technology A research team of scientists from EMBL Grenoble and the IGBMC in Strasbourg, France, have, for the first time, described in molecular detail the architecture of the central scaffold of TFIID: the human protein complex essential for transcription from DNA to mRNA. The study, published today…

2013

sciencescience-technology

2 August 2012 Different inhibitors (yellow, grey) fill the cave-like active site of the cap-snatching protein (the endonuclease, in green) differently, even though they all bind to the active site’s two metal ions (magenta).

Catching the cap-snatcher

Science, Science & Technology Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, have determined the detailed 3-dimensional structure of part of the flu virus’ RNA polymerase, an enzyme that is crucial for influenza virus replication. This important finding is published today in PLoS…

2012

sciencescience-technology

21 July 2011 Model of the inner ring (green) of the nuclear pore, showing its components.

A hot species for cool structures

Science A fungus that lives at extremely high temperatures could help understand structures within our own cells. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and Heidelberg University, both in Heidelberg, Germany, were the first to sequence and analyse the genome of a heat-loving fungus,…

2011

science

12 December 2010 This cryo-electron microscopy image shows the 3D structure of the ribosome (yellow/blue) bound to the signal recognition particle (SRP) and the SRP receptor (both in red). Below it is an atomic model of SRP (green-yellow/orange) and its receptor (pink). Image credits: EMBL/Schaffitzel.

How cells export and embed proteins in the membrane

Science Like an overprotective parent on the first day of school, a targeting factor sometimes needs a little push to let go of its cargo. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, have visualised one such hand-over. They were the first to determine the structure…

2010

science

26 January 2010 This image shows the three-dimensional structure of Death-Associated Protein Kinase (green and yellow) when bound to calmodulin (violet and blue). It was obtained by X-ray crystallography. Image credit: Mathias Wilmanns / EMBL

How to shoot the messenger

Science Cells rely on a range of signalling systems to communicate with each other and to control their own internal workings. Scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Hamburg, Germany, have now found a way to hack into a vital communications system, raising the possibility of…

2010

science

30 September 2009 In the centre, a structural model determined by X-ray crystallography shows how the two tags (attached to a short section of the histone protein – all in cyan) fit neatly into the Brdt pocket (purple). In the background image, hypercompaction by Brdt causes relatively diffuse chromatin (stained blue inside the nuclei of two cells on the top left) to compact and clump together (two on the bottom right).

Putting the squeeze on sperm DNA

Science In the quest for speed, olympic swimmers shave themselves or squeeze into high-tech super-suits. In the body, sperm are the only cells that swim and, as speed is crucial to fertility, have developed their own ways to become exceptionally streamlined. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology…

2009

science

11 July 2006

Mapping the protein world

Lab Matters In the early days of X-ray crystallography obtaining a three-dimensional model of a protein required wire models, screws, bolts and years of tedious calculations by hand. Today macromolecular models are built by computers – thanks to sophisticated software and in particular a package called…

2006

lab-matters

11 January 2006

The giant protein titin helps build muscles

Science Imagine grabbing two snakes by the tail so that they can’t wriggle off in opposite directions. Scientists at the Hamburg Outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and collaborators from King’s College in London have now discovered that something similar happens to a…

2006

science

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