Proteins are the molecular building blocks and machinery of cells and involved in practically all biological processes. To fulfil their tasks, they need to be folded into a complicated three-dimensional structure. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, have now analysed one of the key players of this folding process: the molecular chaperone DnaK. “The understanding of these mechanisms is of great interest in the light of the many diseases in which folding goes awry, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s,” says Ulrich Hartl, MPIB director. The work of the researchers has now been published in Cell Reports.
Picture: The chaperone DnaK binds to new proteins and mediates their folding. Proteins it cannot fold, DnaK transports to GroEL, a highly specialised folding machine. © MPI of Biochemistry
Scientits from the Max Planck Institute in Bad Nauheim use silk from the tasar silkworm as a scaffold for heart tissue: Damaged human heart muscle cannot be regenerated. Scar tissue grows in place of the damaged muscle cells. The scientists are seeking to restore complete cardiac function with the help of artificial cardiac tissue. They have succeeded in loading cardiac muscle cells onto a three-dimensional scaffold, created using the silk produced by a tropical silkworm.
Picture: Disks cut from the cocoon of the tasar silkworm grub provide a basic scaffold for heart muscle cells. The disks are around the same size as cent coins. © MPI for Heart and Lung Research