HZB Newsroom

Sear results - Keyword: life sciences

  • <p>DESY researcher Wiebke Ewert shows on a so-called electron density map where a drug candidate (green) binds to the main protease of the corona virus (blue).</p>
    Synchrotrons accelerate corona research
    Information by the German Committee Research with Synchrotron Radiation (KFS).

    Synchrotron light sources were originally built to study particles. Today, they are even used in the fight against COVID-19. The projects are as diverse as the fields of the synchrotron users, who come from universities, research institutions and companies like BioNTech.


  • <p>Around the catalytic centre is a group of molecules, the gating domain, which can occupy two different positions.</p>
    Science Highlight
    BESSY II: universal mechanism of regulation in plant cells discovered
    In pioneering work, a German-Japanese research team at BESSY II has been able to determine the 3D structure of a metalloprotein that plays an important role as a catalyst in all plant cells. This involves the DYW deaminase domain of what is referred to as the RNA editosome. The DYW domain alters messenger RNA nucleotides in chloroplasts and mitochondria and contains a zinc ion whose activity is controlled by a very unusual mechanism. The team has now been able to describe this mechanism in detail for the first time. Their study, published in Nature Catalysis, is considered a breakthrough in the field of plant molecular biology and has far-reaching implications for bioengineering.


  • <p>Prof. Dr. Udo Heinemann works at the Max Delbr&uuml;ck Center for Molecular Medicine and initiated the setting up of the MX beamlines almost 20 years ago. His group contributed more than 250 structures to the Protein Data Bank.</p>
    “The gain in insights for structural biology has continued for five decades”

    Prof. Dr. Udo Heinemann works at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, where he has been researching in structural biology for 40 years. From 2008 to 2012, he was a member of the Advisory Board for the Protein Data Bank in Europe. In an interview, he speaks of the value added by the Protein Data Bank for research today, and why it is important that there are specialised beamlines for structural biology analysis in Berlin. [...]

  • <p>Electron density map of the most antiviral active ingredient calpeptin (yellow) binding at the main protease.</p>
    Science Highlight
    X-ray lightsource at DESY identifies promising candidates for COVID drugs
    At DESY's high-brilliance X-ray light source PETRA III, a team from more than 30 research institutions has identified several candidates for active substances against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. They bind to an important protein of the virus and could thus be the basis for a drug against Covid-19. The MX team from HZB examined part of the measurement data with special analysis algorithms in order to identify suitable active substances. The study has now been published in the renowned journal Science.


  • <p>An impression of the placoderm fish living 380 million years ago.</p>
    Science Highlight
    Tomography brings insights into the early evolution of bones
    Modern biology considers bone cells (osteocytes) as essential for bone development and health. However, when bone initially evolved some 400-million years ago, it did not contain bone cells. So why did bone cells evolve? Why was it so advantageous that most subsequent vertebrates have bone cells? A joint team of palaeontologists at Berlin’s natural history museum has now for the first time analysed these structures in 400 million-year-old fossils of marine life at unprecedentedly high resolution and in 3D. To be able to view these structures, tomography experts at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) examined the samples under the focussed ion beam of a scanning electron microscope to calculate 3D images from the data, achieving resolutions in the nanometre range using technology that was initially developed to study battery corrosion.


  • <p>Artificial and natural interzones on a tooth restored with non-degradable biomaterials are exposed to mechanical (left: stresses acting in compression, tension and shear) and biological challenges (right: bacterial attachment, penetration, and other interactions with biological media).</p>
    Dental materials science: HZB is part of a research project funded by DFG
    How can dental restorations – such as fillings and crowns – be made to last longer? A new research group centered at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Technische Universität (TU) Berlin plans to address this topic by utilizing approaches from both materials science and dentistry. The interdisciplinary ‘InterDent’ research group is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). It will receive an initial funding of €2.1 million Euro over three years. Partners also include the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPI-KG).


  • <p>(a,b) Cryo-electron microscopy of the 2D-grating and the diffraction pattern of a section. (c-e) Magnification shows the 2D Pascal triangular pattern, with the inserted protein molecules.</p>
    Science Highlight
    Nanopatterns of proteins detected by cryo-electron microscopy
    A team from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) used cryo electron microscopy to detect regular, two-dimensional structures in the form of Pascal triangles in a shock frozen protein material.  The samples have been synthesized by a Chinese research group. The method of cryo electron microscopy has the potential for new insights into energy materials as well. [...]
  • <p>For the study, the enzyme endothiapepsin (grey) was combined with molecules from the fragment library. The analysis shows that numerous substances are able to dock to the enzyme (blue and orange molecules). Every substance found is a potential starting point for the development of larger molecules.</p>
    Science Highlight
    New substance library to accelerate the search for active compounds
    In order to accelerate the systematic development of drugs, the MX team at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the Drug Design Group at the University of Marburg have established a new substance library. It consists of 1103 organic molecules that could be used as building blocks for new drugs. The MX team has now validated this library in collaboration with the FragMAX group at MAX IV. The substance library of the HZB is available for research worldwide and also plays a role in the search for substances active against SARS-CoV-2.


  • <p>Inside the 3D-structure of a phytochrome a bilin pigment absorbs the photon and rotates, which triggers a signal.</p>
    Science Highlight
    User research at BESSY II: Insights into the visual perception of plants
    Plants use light not only for photosynthesis. Although the plant cell does not have eyes, it can still perceive light and thus its environment. Phytochromes, certain turquoise proteins, play the central role in this process. How exactly they function is still unclear. Now a team led by plant physiologist Jon Hughes (Justus Liebig University Gießen) has been able to decipher the three-dimensional architecture of various plant phytochrome molecules at BESSY II. Their results demonstrate how light alters the structure of the phytochrome so that the cell transmits a signal to control the development of the plant accordingly. [...]
  • <p>Protein crystals are analysed in the MX laboratory at BESSY II with hard X-rays.</p>
    Corona research: Consortium of Berlin research and industry seeks active ingredients

    The Berlin biotech company Molox GmbH and a team at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) have initiated a consortium of regional research groups and BASF. Together, they want to identify a starting point for the development of a potential active substance against the new coronavirus. Targets of potential inhibitors will be SARS-CoV2 proteins that promote the spread or infectivity of the viruses. Scientists from Freie Universität Berlin are also involved in the research work. [...]

  • <p>Schematic representation of the coronavirus protease. The enzyme comes as a dimer consisting of two identical molecules. A part of the dimer is shown in colour (green and purple), the other in grey. The small molecule in yellow binds to the active centre of the protease and could be used as blueprint for an inhibitor.</p>
    Corona research at BESSY II: Two days of measuring operation to find the right key
    The Berlin Synchrotron Source BESSY II of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) will resume operation for two days. Scientists intend to use the intense X-ray radiation from BESSY II to search for active substances against the corona virus SARS-CoV2. Almost two hundred samples from an important protein of the virus will be examined in the coming hours. The samples are saturated with different molecules that could be used as components of active substances. The analyses will show whether certain molecules can dock particularly well to the protein molecule and thus hinder the reproduction of the virus. These molecules are best candidates as components of a future drug.  [...]
  • <p>Schematic representation of the coronavirus protease. The enzyme comes as a dimer consisting of two identical molecules. A part of the dimer is shown in colour (green and purple), the other in grey. The small molecule in yellow binds to the active centre of the protease and could be used as blueprint for an inhibitor.</p>
    Science Highlight
    Coronavirus SARS-CoV2: BESSY II data accelerate drug development
    A coronavirus is keeping the world in suspense. SARS-CoV-2 is highly infectious and can cause severe pneumonia with respiratory distress (COVID-19). Scientists are doing research in order to prevent the viruses from multiplying. A team from the University of Lübeck and from Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) has now found a promising approach. Using the high-intensity X-ray light from the Berlin synchrotron source BESSY II, they have decoded the three-dimensional architecture of the main protease of SARS-CoV-2. This protein is involved in the reproduction of the virus. Analysing its 3D architecture allows the systematic development of drugs which inhibit the reproduction of the virus. [...]
  • <p>An individual eye shield is made for each patient to protect the surrounding tissue from the proton beam.</p>
    20 percent more patients were treated with proton therapy in 2019

    For more than 20 years, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) have jointly offered the irradiation of eye tumors with protons. In 2019, more patients were treated in Berlin-Wannsee than ever before. 276 patients - 20 percent more than in the previous year - underwent proton therapy. The treatment is specialized in choroidal melanomas of the eye. The proton accelerator at HZB is the only treatment facility for this disease in Germany.  [...]

  • <p>60s on the new detector were sufficient to obtain the electron density of the PETase enzyme.</p>
    New detector accelerates protein crystallography

    Last week a new detector was installed at one of the three MX beamlines at HZB. Compared to the old detector the new one is better, faster and more sensitive. It allows to acquire complete data sets of complex proteins within a very short time. [...]

  • <p>3D architecture of the cell with different organelles:&nbsp; mitochondria (green), lysosomes (purple), multivesicular bodies (red), endoplasmic reticulum (cream).</p>
    Science Highlight
    X-ray microscopy at BESSY II: Nanoparticles can change cells
    Nanoparticles easily enter into cells. New insights about how they are distributed and what they do there are shown for the first time by high-resolution 3D microscopy images from the lightsources BESSY II and ALBA. For example, certain nanoparticles accumulate preferentially in certain organelles of the cell. This can increase the energy costs in the cell. "The cell looks like it has just run a marathon, apparently, the cell requires energy to absorb such nanoparticles" says lead author James McNally. [...]
  • <p></p> <p>Rhodopsin before (left) and after activation by light (right): The activation causes changes in functional groups inside the molecule (magnifying glass), which affect the entire molecule.</p>
    Science Highlight
    Watching complex molecules at work
    A new method of infrared spectroscopy developed at BESSY II makes single-measurement observation and analysis of very fast as well as irreversible reaction mechanisms in molecules feasible for the first time. Previously, thousands of such reactions have had to be run and measured for this purpose. The research team has now used the new device to investigate how rhodopsin molecules change after activation by light – a process that is the basis of how we see. [...]
  • <p>The study is displayed on the cover of the journal Chemmedchem.</p>
    Science Highlight
    Cancer research at BESSY II: Binding Mechanisms of Therapeutic Substances Deciphered
    In tumor cells, the DNA is altered in comparison to normal body cells. How such changes can be prevented or inhibited is an exciting field of research with great relevance for the development of cancer treatments. An interdisciplinary team has now analysed the possible binding mechanisms in certain therapeutic substances from the tetrazole hydrazide group using protein crystallography at BESSY II. [...]
  • <p>The image shows details such as the vacuole of the parasites (colored in blue and green) inside an infected blood cell.</p>
    Science Highlight
    X-ray microscopy at BESSY II reveals how antimalaria-drugs might work
    Malaria is one of the most threatening infectious diseases in the world. An international team has now been able to investigate malaria pathogens in red blood cells in vivo using the BESSY II X-ray microscope and the ALBA and ESRF synchrotron sources. The scientists reveal the mechanisms used by active substances to attack the pathogen. This could contribute to improve treatment strategies and drug design. [...]
  • <p>Time-resolved 3D neutron tomography shows the rise of deuterated water in the root system of a lupine plant.</p>
    Science Highlight
    Faster than ever - neutron tomography detects water uptake by roots
    A team of researchers from Potsdam, Berlin and Grenoble was able to visualize the transport of water in soil as well as through roots of lupine plants using ultrafast 3D neutron imaging. The high-speed neutron tomography developed at HZB generates a complete 3D image every 1.5 seconds and is thus seven times faster than before. The method facilitates a better understanding of water and nutrient uptake of crop plants. The measurements were performed at the neutron source of the Laue Langevin Institute (ILL) in Grenoble, France. The method can also be applied to investigate transport processes in various porous material systems. [...]
  • <p>Up to three indivudal drops may be placed onto the sample holder.</p>
    Science Highlight
    New sample holder for protein crystallography
    An HZB research team has developed a novel sample holder that considerably facilitates the preparation of protein crystals for structural analysis. A short video by the team shows how proteins in solution can be crystallised directly onto the new sample holders themselves, then analysed using the MX beamlines at BESSY II. A patent has already been granted and a manufacturer found. [...]
  • <p>At the MX-Beamlines at BESSY II, Gottfried Palm, Gert Weber and Manfred Weiss could solve the 3D structure of MHETase.</p>
    FOCUS TOPIC: Using BESSY II to combat plastic waste
    Plastics are excellent materials: extremely versatile and almost eternally durable. But this is also exactly the problem, because after only about 100 years of producing plastics, plastic particles are now found everywhere – in groundwater, in the oceans, in the air, and in the food chain.


  • Science Highlight
    Oldest completely preserved lily discovered
    Already 115 million years ago, tropical flowering plants were apparently very diverse and showed all typical characteristics. This is the conclusion of an international team of researchers led by Clément Coiffard, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. The team reported in the renowned journal Nature Plants on the oldest completely preserved lily, Cratolirion bognerianum, which was discovered at a site in present-day Brazil. With the help of 3D computer tomography at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, details on the back of the fossilised plant could also be analysed. The results raise new questions about the role of the tropics in the development of past and present ecosystems. [...]
  • <p>The enzyme MHETase is a huge and complex molecule. MHET-molecules from PET plastic dock at the active site inside the MHETase and are broken down into their basic building blocks.</p>
    Science Highlight
    "Molecular scissors" for plastic waste
    A research team from the University of Greifswald and Helmholtz-Zentrum-Berlin (HZB) has solved the molecular structure of the important enzyme MHETase at BESSY II. MHETase was discovered in bacteria and together with a second enzyme - PETase - is able to break down the widely used plastic PET into its basic building blocks. This 3D structure already allowed the researchers to produce a MHETase variant with optimized activity in order to use it, together with PETase, for a sustainable recycling of PET. The results have been published in the research journal Nature Communications. [...]
  • <p>Lena Gra&szlig; has received an award by GBM for her master thesis.</p>
    Outstanding master thesis on the structure and function of a bacterial enzyme honoured
    On December 17, 2018, Lena Graß, a PhD student from the Structural Biochemistry Group at Freie Universität Berlin, was awarded the Master Prize of the Gesellschaft für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie e.V. (Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) (GBM). For her master thesis at Freie Universität Berlin and the MX beamlines of BESSY II, she deciphered the structure and function of a so-called RNA helicase. [...]
  • <p>Computer scientist Andreas Maier, materials researcher Silke Christiansen and medical expert Georg Schett have been awarded with an ERC Synergy Grant. </p>
    ERC Synergy grant with HZB participation
    Novel X-ray microscope to produce microstructural images in situ and in vivo [...]
  • <p>Fossils like this 250 million year old skull of a lystrosaurus can be examined very carefully by neutron tomography. </p>
    Science Highlight
    Neutron tomography: Insights into the interior of teeth, root balls, batteries, and fuel cells
    A team of researchers at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and European Spallation Source (ESS) has now published a comprehensive overview of neutron-based imaging processes in the renowned journal Materials Today (impact factor 21.6). The authors report on the latest developments in neutron tomography, illustrating the possible applications using examples of this non-destructive method. Neutron tomography has facilitated breakthroughs in so diverse areas such as art history, battery research, dentistry, energy materials, industrial research, magnetism, palaeobiology and plant physiology. [...]
  • <p>Sketch of the Photosystem II. </p>
    Science Highlight
    Novel soft X-ray spectrometer enables individual steps of photosynthetic water oxidation to be observed
    HZB scientists have developed a novel spectrometer at BESSY II that enables researchers to obtain detailed insights about catalytic processes in metalloenzymes. Their international collaboration was successful in delineating individual steps in the catalytic oxidation of water to dioxygen in photosystem II. They published their study in the journal Structural Dynamics. Photosystem II is a part of the of photosynthetic electron transport chain, a process that is responsible for the conversion of solar energy to chemical energy in plants, algae and cyanobacteria. [...]
  • <p>Sequential tomography of a lupin root (yellowish green) after deuterated water (D<sub>2</sub>O) was introduced from below. The rising water front (H<sub>2</sub>O, dark blue) is displaced by the D<sub>2</sub>O from below over the course of time. The complete sequence can be viewed as a video. Created by Christian T&ouml;tzke &copy; University of Potsdam</p>
    Science Highlight
    User research at BER II: Lupin roots observed in the act of catching water from soil – so far too quick for 3D views
    Lupins not only produce colourful blossoms but also nutritious beans rich in proteins. Just how these plants draw water approaching their roots in soil has now for the first time been observed in three dimensions by a University of Potsdam team at the HZB-BER II neutron source in Berlin. To accomplish this, they worked with the HZB imaging group to improve the temporal resolution of neutron tomography more than onehundred-fold so that a detailed 3D image was generated every ten seconds. This ultrafast neutron tomography is generally suitable as well for analyses of dynamic processes in porous materials. [...]
  • News
    HZB and Freie Universität Berlin establish the joint research group “X-Ray Microscopy” for studying complex cellular processes
    In May this year, the joint research group “X-Ray Microscopy” was launched, combining the expertise of teams led by Prof. Dr. Gerd Schneider (Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Helge Ewers (Freie Universität Berlin). While Ewers’ group contributes its experience in the field of optical microscopy and biological research, the HZB workgroup is responsible for X-ray microscopy at the synchrotron source BESSY II. The two methods help researchers to gain a detailed insight into the processes taking place inside cells. [...]
  • <p>Comparison of the same specimen at the old Beamline (left) and the new HZB-XM-Beamline (right). </p>
    X-Ray microscopy: HZB-TXM is back in operation
    The X-ray microscope (HZB-TXM) is back in operation. The TXM offers significantly  better quality images compared to the former X-ray microscopy station. [...]
  • <p>The teams of Freie Universit&auml;t Berlin and Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin are engaged in the of training young scientists. The participants produce samples and examine at the MX beamlines of BESSY II.</p>
    HZB and Freie Universität Berlin are establishing the joint research group “Macromolecular Crystallography”
    For eight years, HZB’s “Macromolecular Crystallography” workgroup has been successfully cooperating with the “Structural Biochemistry” research group headed by Prof. Markus Wahl at the Freie Universität Berlin. They are about to intensify this cooperation. The two institutes are establishing a joint research group dedicated to studying the biochemistry of genetic information processing. This research group benefits in particular from access to the three MX beamlines, where it can study protein crystals using the synchrotron light from BESSY II. [...]
  • <p>The newly developed expert system was used to analyse 364 data sets of a specidfic protein crystal, soaked in different fragments.</p>
    Science Highlight
    Advancing methodology at BESSY II: Automated evaluation speeds up the search for new active substance
    The macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamlines at the BESSY II X-ray source are specially designed to highly automated structural analyses of protein crystals. With up to now more than 2000 solved structures of protein molecules, these beamlines are by far the most productive ones in Germany and are in vigorous demand by groups from either an academic and industrial research area. Now teams from HZB and Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany have automated the evaluation of data records as well. The newly developed expert system identifies small molecule fragments bound to proteins in the raw X-ray diffraction data. These fragments represent suitable starting points for the development of an active substance. Using a series of 364 samples, the collaborating partners demonstrated that the expert system works reliably and can speed up the search for a suitable active agents. [...]
  • <p>A new generation of sensors: The scales of the petrified cone move upward against gravity, and on drying back to their starting positions. </p>
    User research at BESSY II: How water moves glass
    In the realm of plants, capillary forces are a widely observed impetus for actuation. They are the physical basis for the expansion of porous materials during uptake of fluid. Such materials include the cones of conifers with their readily observable movement during drying or wetting. Scientists at the Chair of Biogenic Polymers of the Technical University Munich, located at the Science Center Straubing, have succeeded in retaining this plant-derived movement when the respective plant has been replaced by an artificial petrification process. Elaborate analyses at the synchrotron source BESSY II in Berlin showed that the internal structure of the pine cone was retained. Thereby, they laid the foundations for a new generation of sensoric materials. [...]
  • <p><span>Dentin's biological structure: tubules and mineral nanoparticles embedded in a network of collagen fibers. Image</span>: Jean-Baptiste Forien, &copy; <span>Charit&eacute;</span> &ndash; Universit&auml;tsmedizin Berlin</p>
    Science Highlight
    User research at BESSY II: nanostructures in human teeth

    Dentin is one of the most durable biological materials in the human body. Researchers from Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin were able to show that the reason for this can be traced to its nanostructures and specifically to the interactions between the organic and inorganic components. Measurements performed at BESSYII, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin's synchrotron radiation source, showed that it is the mechanical coupling between the collagen protein fibers and mineral nanoparticles which renders dentin capable of withstanding extreme forces. Results from this research have been recently published in the journal Chemistry of Materials. [...]
  • <p>MXcuBE Meeting from 1st - 2nd of December 2015 at Alba, Barcelona. The meetings make sure that the devenlopment of MXcuBE3 closly fits to the needs of the users.&nbsp;</p>
<p>Photo: <span>Jordi Juanhuix/ALBA</span></p>
    Common platform for macromolecular crystallography at European synchrotrons
    Researchers use high-intensity X-ray light from synchrotron radiation sources to decipher the structures of biological molecules and thus the blueprints of life. A cooperation agreement has been effective since 2012 to establish common software standards at several European sources. Its aim: The eight synchrotrons involved want to create user-friendly, standardised conditions at the 30 experimental stations for macromolecular crystallography, which will greatly facilitate the work of research groups. In the new project “MXCuBE3”, the existing software platform is being adapted to include the latest developments in technology. [...]
  • <p>Proteinkristalle an BESSY II studieren: Dank eines einmaligen Projektes k&ouml;nnen Studierende der FU Berlin regelm&auml;&szlig;ig am Snychrotron experimentieren. Das ist nur einer der sichtbaren Erfolge der Kooperation in der Berliner Strukturbiologie. Foto: Silvia Zerbe/HZB</p>
    Gemeinsames Treffen der Strukturbiologen in Berlin: der 6. Joint-MX-Day am 23. September 2015 am HZB
    Die Hauptstadt hat sich in den letzten Jahren zu einem Hotspot der Strukturbiologie in Deutschland entwickelt. Entscheidend dazu beigetragen hat das hohe Maß an Kooperation zwischen außeruniversitären Forschungseinrichtungen und Universitäten. Aber auch Wissenschaft und Industrie arbeiten in der Strukturbiologie sehr eng zusammen. Am 23. September 2015 findet der 6. Joint-MX-Day statt, bei dem sich Forscher über neue Methoden, Ansätze und Erkenntnisse in der Strukturbiologie austauschen werden. [...]
  • <p>Prof. Dr. Gerd Schneider becomes a full professur for x-ray microscopy at the Humboldt University Berlin and is the head of the HZB group "Microscopy". </p>
    Gerd Schneider receives a professorship for "X-ray microscopy" at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
    On 29 April 2015, Gerd Schneider (HZB) accepted the call to a W2-S “X-ray microscopy” professorship at the Department of Physics of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The professorship is associated with heading the workgroup “X-ray microscopy” at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie. With his group, the internationally recognised expert is developing new methods and applications for X-ray microscopy, which delivers crucial information for many scientific disciplines – from material and energy research to the life sciences.  [...]
  • <p>Illustration of the complex biostructure of dentin: the dental tubuli (yellow hollow cylinders, diameters appr. 1 micrometer) are surrounded by layers of mineralized collagen fibers (brown rods). The tiny mineral nanoparticles are embedded in the mesh of collagen fibers and not visible here. </p>
    Science Highlight
    Strong teeth: Nanostructures under stress make teeth crack resistant
    Human teeth have to serve for a lifetime, despite being subjected to huge forces. But the high failure resistance of dentin in teeth is not fully understood. An interdisciplinary team led by scientists of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has now analyzed the complex structure of dentin. At the synchrotron sources BESSY II at HZB, Berlin, Germany, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility ESRF, Grenoble, France, they could reveal that the mineral particles are precompressed. The internal stress works against crack propagation and increases resistance of the biostructure. [...]
  • <p></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span></span><span>The neutron images (left row) detect the distribution of liquids in this filled tooth, whereas the X-ray-CT shows the microstructure and pores in the material. A comparision of both images allows to see which pores are filled with liquids. </span></p>
    Science Highlight
    Neutrons and X-rays show how to prepare durable tooth cement
    There are many ways to mix cements for tooth fillings, but it can be difficult to tell which way works best. Now, a team of scientists from Copenhagen, Denmark, has come up with an answer: They used neutron imaging and x-ray-microtomography at HZB to analyze fillings with glass ionomere cements, prepared by different methods. Their results, now published in  Scientific Reports, demonstrate how much the order of mixing steps matters to obtain a nearly homogenous filling without large liquid-filled pores which reduce stability. [...]
  • <p>Patient im Behandlungsstuhl</p> <p></p>
    2500 Augentumor-Patienten von der Charité mit Protonen am Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin bestrahlt
    Am Freitag, dem 21. November 2014, wurde um 16:10 Uhr die Bestrahlungsserie der 2500.  Protonentherapiepatientin, am Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin erfolgreich abgeschlossen. Seit 1998 behandelt die Augenklinik der Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, in Kooperation mit der dortigen Klinik für Radioonkologie und Strahlentherapie Augentumore, insbesondere Aderhautmelanome, mit dem Protonenstrahl des Helmholtz-Zentrums Berlin für Materialien und Energie am Campus Lise-Meitner in Berlin Wannsee. [...]
  • Science Highlight
    “Multi-spectra glasses” for scanning electron microscopy
    Reflection zone plates produced by HZB enable lighter elements in material samples to be precisely detected using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) by providing high resolution in the range of 50-1120 eV. [...]
  • Science Highlight
    Proteins: New class of materials discovered
    German-Chinese research team gleans seminal insights into protein crystalline frameworks at HZB's BESSY II [...]
  • <p>Sebastian Seiffert forscht am HZB-Institut "Weiche Materie und funktionale Materialien" und leitet auch an der Freien Universit&auml;t Berlin eine Arbeitsgruppe.</p>
    GDCh zeichnet Sebastian Seiffert aus
    Prof. Dr. Sebastian Seiffert erhält eine weitere Auszeichnung für seine Forschungsarbeit. Die Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh) hat mitgeteilt, dass Seiffert den Preis für Nachwuchswissenschaftler auf dem Gebiet der Makromolekularen Chemie erhalten wird. Der Preis wird ihm im Rahmen der Konferenz "Polymers and Energy" überreicht, die vom 14. bis 16. September in Jena stattfindet. [...]
  • <p>SEM image of the membrane. </p>
    Science Highlight
    “Muscled skin”: Simple formulas describe complex behaviors
    HZB researchers help chemists understand polymeric "biomimetic" materials' mechanical properties [...]
  • <p>These scanning electron micrographs show how accurately the three Fresnel zone plates were positioned above one another. 3D X-ray optics of this kind allow the resolutions and optical intensities to be considerably improved.</p>
    Science Highlight
    Sharper imaging using X-rays
    HZB team develops three-dimensional volume diffraction optics for X-rays [...]
  • <p>Crystal structure of human MTH1 in complex with a key inhibitor.<br />Source: Stockholm University, Prof. Pal Stenmark.</p>
    Science Highlight
    A new concept for the treatment of cancer
    A team of researchers from five Swedish universities has identified a new way to treat cancer. They present their concept in the journal „Nature“. It is based on inhibiting a specific enzyme called MTH1. Cancer cells, unlike normal cells, need MTH1 to survive. Without this enzyme, oxidized nucleotides are incorporated into DNA, resulting in lethal DNA double-strand breaks in the cancer cells. The research group at Stockholm University has determined the structure of MTH1 based on diffraction measurements at HZB´s MX-beamline at BESSY II. These detailed structural studies are important for the development of efficient inhibitors targeting MTH1. [...]
  • <p>Kristalle in ihrer ganzen Sch&ouml;nheit, Form und Farbenvielfalt faszinieren die Gelehrten seit der Antike. Das Internationale Jahr der Kristallographie macht auf die erzielten Fortschritte in allen Lebensbereichen aufmerksam.</p>
    Kristalle in Wissenschaft und Technik: Ergebnisse auf der 22. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Kristallographie in Berlin
    Die Kristallographie hat enorm zum Fortschritt des 20. und 21. Jahrhundert beigetragen und ein grundlegendes Verständnis von Prozessen in vielen Lebensbereichen ermöglicht. Die Vielfalt der interdisziplinären Wissenschaft zu Struktur und Eigenschaften von Kristallen, ihrer Synthese und Anwendungsmöglichkeiten wird vom 17. bis 20. März 2014 bei der 22. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Kristallographie (DGK) in Berlin präsentiert. [...]
  • <p>Steve Cramer is looking forward to collaborate with the Berlin Team at HZB and FU.</p>
    Humboldt Research Award brings Stephen P. Cramer to Berlin
    The renowned synchrotron spectroscopy expert Professor Stephen P. Cramer has received a Humboldt Research Award and may now spend up to one year cooperating closely with a team at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and Freie Universität Berlin. Cramer was nominated by Professor Emad Aziz, who heads a Joint Lab for “Ultrafast Dynamics in Solution and at Interfaces” at HZB and Freie Universität. Cramer is Advanced Light Source Professor at University of California, Davis, and at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. [...]
  • <p>A key feature of the active site of the trypanosomal thiolase is the HDCF-loop (HIS-ASP-CYS-PHE), visualised in light blue.</p>
    Blocking the active site of thiolase
    Scientists at the University of Oulu, Finland, and at the HZB break new ground for drug discovery research in the fight against sleeping sickness [...]
  • Nachricht
    Festsymposium zur 1000. Proteinstruktur an BESSY II
    Im Juli 2013 wurde die 1000. Proteinstruktur veröffentlicht, die auf bei BESSY II gemessenen Daten beruht. Aus diesem Anlass lädt das HZB am Mittwoch, den 16.10.2013, zu einem Festsymposium ein. [...]
  • Structure of the sugar molecule bound by the enzyme transketolase immediately prior to its being split
    Göttingen scientists use BESSY II to decode basic mechanism underlying biochemical reactions
    Enzymes are life’s molecular catalysts and figure prominently in cellular metabolism. It has been speculated that in the course of a biochemical reaction enzymes physically bend their substrates to split them. Now for the first time ever, scientists at the Göttingen Center for Molecular Biosciences (GZMB) have successfully used BESSY II's MX beamline to unequivocally confirm this hypothesis. The results from this study have been published in the renowned scientific journal Nature Chemistry. [...]
  • This sketch demonstrates the principle of measurement which enables to address  atom-specific and state-dependent emission of photons. With the help of first principles theory the spectral features can be associated with molecular orbitals.
    Science Highlight
    Better insight into molecular interactions
    How exactly atoms and molecules in biochemical solutions or at solid-liquid interfaces do interact, is a question of great importance. Answers will provide insights at processes in catalysts, smart functional materials and even physiological processes in the body, which are essential for health. Until now, scientists could have a look at these interactions by methods of spectroscopy, but it was hard to distinguish the many different interactions, which take place simultaneously. [...]
  • Dr. Anup Kumar Bera from the department of Quantum Phenomena in Novel Materials convinced the committee with his poster about  ‘Haldane chains’.
    International Conference in Neutron Scattering: HZB-contributions awarded
    More than 800 participants had gathered for the International Conference in Neutron Scattering, held during 8-12 July 2013 in Edinburgh, to discuss advances in neutron research and the advancement of the neutron scattering instruments and techniques. A committee selected sixteen outstanding posters from the 650 poster presentations, two of these from HZB scientists. [...]
  • <p>The inhibitor Ex-527 attaches to the enzyme Sirt-3 (shown here in light grey) and to acetylated ADP ribose; this substance is a product which results from Sirt-3 mediated deacetylation. This blocks the sirtuin&rsquo;s active center to prevent further deacetylation. This way, the sirtuin has effectively set a permanent trap for itself the first time around.</p>
    1000th protein structure decoded at BESSY II
    In July of this year, the 1000th protein structure based on measurements obtained at BESSY II was published. The molecule in question belongs to a class of proteins called sirtuins, which are involved in aging, stress, and metabolic processes within the human organism. Bayreuth University’s Prof. Clemens Steegborn and his team uncovered a clever mechanism used by active substances to inhibit sirtuin activity. The results have been published in the renowned scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, and could potentially point the way to new cancer therapies. [...]
  • Structure of Brr2-protein belongs to a family of enzymes that are called “RNA helicases”.
    Discovery of how a key enzyme of the spliceosome exerts its controlling function
    To sustain life, processes in biological cells have to be strictly controlled both in time and in space. By using the MX-Beamline of synchrotron radiation source BESSY II research workers at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen and the Free University of Berlin have elucidated a previously unknown mechanism that regulates one of the essential processes accompanying gene expression in higher organisms. In humans, errors in this control mechanism can lead to blindness. This discovery has been published in the renowned scientific journal Science (23th may 2013). [...]
  • Dr. Tristan Petit joins the Aziz-Team. Foto: T.Petit
    Humboldt Fellow new addition to Aziz team
    Starting June 1st, Dr. Tristan Petit will be joining Prof. Dr. Emad Flear Aziz’ team for a two-year postdoc. His Humboldt Foundation Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers gave Petit the option to choose his German scientific host. Ultimately, he decided on the Joint Ultrafast Dynamics Lab in Solutions and at Interfaces (JULiq) that was set up by Aziz. Says Petit: “I really wanted to be on Aziz’ team as they have a lot of collective expertise with spectroscopy in water.” [...]
  • <p>Uwe M&uuml;ller und Thomas Frederking (v.li.) durchtrennen das Band. Der neue Detektor ist nun einsatzbereit.</p>
    Proteinstrukturen besser erforschen
    Feierlich eingeweiht: Der neue Pilatus-Detektor für die Kristallographie ist nun einsatzbereit [...]
  • <p>With the help of computer simulation, researchers have been<br />able to calculate the movements and forces between <br />water molecules (small, red-and-white dipoles), a ligand (shown in green),<br />and the protein molecule's water-repellant hollow pocket.</p>
    Science Highlight
    Water fluctuations mediate lock-and-key fit
    Without water, life as we know, it would not exist. Nearly every biological binding process that takes place within a cell requires the presence of an aqueous environment. Here, tiny molecules called ligands fit like "keys" into their matching "locks" - docking sites on larger protein molecules. This in turn activates signals or leads to the production of some other substance by the cell. But what was previously unclear, was the part water plays in all this. Is water merely a passive transport medium or does it perform other, more active jobs as well? Now, HZB's own Prof. Dr. Joachim Dzubiella and a team of physicists have looked for answers to this question using a computer simulated model system. In the process, they discovered that water is capable of actively influencing the docking speed of the ligand through subtle interactions with other molecules' unique geometry and surface topography. Their findings could become important in drug delivery. [...]
  • Der Pilatus-Detektor (rechts) ist mit dem ASAXS-Instrument<br />des HZB am FCM-Strahlrohr der PTB installiert.
    Mit neuem Detektor kleinsten Biomarkern auf der Spur
    PTB installiert vakuumkompatiblen ortsempfindlichen Röntgendetektor am Elektronenspeicherring BESSY II. Forscher können damit die Größe kontrastarmer Nanoobjekte bestimmen.


  • On the photo are shown from left to right <br />Manfred Weiss (HZB-MX), Bartosz Sekula (Lodz),<br />
Uwe Mueller (HZB-MX) and Anna Bujacz,<br /> Bartosz' Ph.D. supervisor.
    MX-Posterprize to Bartosz Sekula, Lodz
    The prize for the best poster in the field of macromolecular crystallography was awarded to
    Bartosz Sekula from the University of Lodz (Poland). The poster committee unanimously selected the poster titled "Complexes of equine serum albumin with ligands" as this year's best poster in MX. [...]
  • With the help of HZB’s x-ray microscope, MAXYMUS, MPIC<br />scientists in Mainz, Germany, recently decoded the methods<br />used by mushrooms and plants to influence Amazon rainforest<br />cloud formation. Organic substances condense on mushroom and<br />plant derived potassium salts resulting in production of<br />aerosol particles. On these, fog droplets form.<br />
    Rainforest mushrooms as weather makers
    Whereas in urban areas, soot or dust particles often double as condensation nuclei, in rain-forests, it is mainly organic evaporations from plants, which periodically trigger fog or cloud formation. Now, at HZB’s BESSY II, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry scientists have shown that inorganic salts also play a role in the process. It appears that tiny potas-sium salt particles make up the core of cloud condensation nuclei in the rainforest. These kinds of salts are evaporated by mushrooms and plants as a way of influencing the number of condensation nuclei and, by extension, affecting cloud formation and precipitation over the rainforest. [...]
  • Von links nach rechts: Martin Jermann, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Anke<br />Kaysser-Pyzalla, Cornelia Yzer, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Frei, Prof. Dr. med.<br />Antonia M. Joussen, Dr. Jutta Koch-Unterseher.<br />Foto: Jennifer Bierbaum/HZB
    Festkolloquium anlässlich des 2000. Patienten bei der Augentumortherapie
    Die Protonentherapie von Augentumoren wird in Deutschland nur vom Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin gemeinsam mit der Charité Berlin angeboten, vor kurzem wurde der 2.000. Patient behandelt. Bei ihrem Grußwort auf dem Festkolloquium am 11. Oktober 2012 würdigte Cornelia Yzer, Berlins neue Senatorin für Wirtschaft, Technologie und Forschung, die erfolgreiche Kooperation zwischen HZB und Charité. Diese Kooperation ist nun unbefristet verlängert, sagte Yzer. Damit werden auch in Zukunft Patientinnen und Patienten von dieser Behandlung profitieren können, die in vielen Fällen die Sehkraft des Auges erhält. [...]
  • Nachricht
    Neues Helmholtz Virtuelles Institut feierlich eröffnet

    Mit einem Festakt an der Freien Universität Berlin wurde am Montag, dem 19. Dezember, ein neues Helmholtz Virtuelles Institut (HVI) eröffnet, an dem neben dem federführenden Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht in Teltow (HZG) und der Freien Universität Berlin auch das Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) einer der Kernpartner ist. [...]

  • News
    Shedding Light on Luminescence - Scientists at HZB reveal the structure of a designer protein
    Fluorescent proteins are important investigative tools in the biosciences: Coupled to other proteins, they help us to study the processes of life inside cells and organisms at the molecular level. Fluorescent proteins are made to light up at specific target sites or to become dark again where necessary. In other words, they are switched on and off like light bulbs. Now, for the first time, at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) scientists have studied the structural characteristics involved in fluorescence on one single protein crystal when switched on and when switched off. Their results are published in Nature Biotechnology (doi:10.1038/nbt.1952). [...]
  • Nachricht
    2. Joint Berlin MX Day

    Die in Berlin auf dem Gebiet der Strukturbiologie forschenden Wissenschaftler betreiben seit einem Jahr gemeinsam das Joint Berlin MX Laboratory. Am 17. August findet der zweite gemeinsame Workshop statt. Gastgeber ist diesmal das Max-Delbrück-Centrum in Berlin-Buch. Wer noch teilnehmen möchte, kann sich gern noch anmelden - per email an Prof. Dr. Udo Heinemann: heinemann@mdc-berlin.de [...]

  • <p>Prof. Dr. Emad Flear Aziz<br /></p>
    Flüssigkeiten im Synchrotron: Mit weicher Röntgenstrahlung der Funktion von Materialien auf der Spur
    Der Karl-Scheel-Preis 2011 der Physikalischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin geht an Prof. Dr. Emad Flear Azizvon der Freien Universität Berlin und dem Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie [...]
  • Vordere Reihe, von links nach rechts: Leona Berndt, Christiane<br />Kowsky, Daniela Dalm<br />Hintere Reihe, von links nach rechts: Gesa Volkers, Xenia<br />Bogdanovic, Britta Girbardt, Christiane Großmann, Dr. Christiane<br />Fenske, Dr. Gottfried Palm, Winfried Hinrichs<br />Foto: Uni Greifswald
    Kampf gegen Antibiotika-Resistenzen - Wissenschaftler enttarnen Resistenzprotein
    Wissenschaftler des Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin haben mit der Synchrotronstrahlungsquelle BESSY II an der Strukturaufklärung eines Proteins mitgewirkt, das für Antibiotikaresistenzen verantwortlich ist: Mit ihrer Unterstützung ist es Forschern der Universität Greifswald gelungen, die Struktur des Proteins Monooxygenase TetX zu entschlüsseln, das Bakterien eine Resistenz gegen Tetracyclin-Antibiotika vermittelt. Damit wurde erstmals ein Schlüssel zum Verständnis eines Resistenzmechanismus gefunden, noch bevor die klinische Anwendung eines Antibiotikums wirkungslos wird. Ein entsprechender Artikel wurde jetzt in der wissenschaftlichen Fachzeitschrift FEBS Letters veröffentlicht. [...]
  • <p>Das ist die 500ste Proteinstruktur, die am BESSY II ent- <br />schl&uuml;sselt wurde. Das Molek&uuml;l, das im aktiven Zentrum des <br />Proteins zu sehen ist, ist die Vorstufe eines Hemmstoffs f&uuml;r <br />Pim-1. Die Struktur kl&auml;rten Wissenschaftler von <br />Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals in Berlin auf.</p>
    Von 1 auf 500… - 500ste Protein-Struktur an BESSY II entschlüsselt
    Haare, Haut, Blutkreislauf und Nervensystem – alles wird von winzigen biologischen Bausteinen gesteuert. Wer nach diesen kleinsten Bausteinen des Lebens forscht, landet automatisch bei ihnen: den Proteinen. Um diese Grundbausteine des Lebens und die Vorgänge, die sie bewirken, besser zu verstehen, archivieren Wissenschaftler in aller Welt ihre Erkenntnisse über Proteine in einer gemeinsamen Datenbank. Die HZB-Forschungsgruppe Makromolekulare Kristallografie (MX) stellt Nutzern am BESSY II die Technik zur Verfügung, mit der sie Protein-Strukturen entschlüsseln können. Vor kurzem wurde die bereits 500ste Struktur an diesen MX-Strahlrohren des HZB von Wissenschaftlern der Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Berlin entschlüsselt. [...]
  • The imaged Brandenburg Gate is only a few micrometres in size.<br />The scientists took the green and red pictures of the model<br />merely 50 femtoseconds apart.
    Fastest movie in the world recorded
    Scientists develop a method to film nanostructures [...]
  • Slice through the nucleus of a mouse adenocarcinoma cell<br />showing the nucleolus (NU) and the membrane channels running<br />across the nucleus (NMC); taken by X-ray nanotomography.<br />Photo: HZB/Schneider
    New microscope reveals ultrastructure of cells
    HZB researchers can take images of small cellular components in their natural environment – while the cell remains intact [...]
  • Close-up of the liquid-jet.
    LiXEdrom: Innovative measuring chamber for X-ray study of liquid jets
    Until now, the only way to study liquids by soft X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) has been through a membrane window. Now, researchers of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have carried out an XES study of a free micro-liquid jet on the synchrotron. [...]
  • Nachricht
    Katalase und Methämoglobin: so ähnlich und doch verschieden
    Wichtige physiologische Prozesse beim Fettabbau und Sauerstofftransport aufgeklärt [...]
  • Nachricht
    Kristallisationspunkt für Nachwuchswissenschaftler
    Workshop zur synchrotron-basierten biologischen Strukturforschung am HZB in Adlershof [...]
  • <p>Die drei Neutronenradiogramme zeigen aufsteigendes Wasser in einer Tomatenpflanze. Die Radiogramme entstehen auf &auml;hnliche Weise wie R&ouml;ntgenaufnahmen, wobei Neutronen im Gegensatz zu R&ouml;ntgenstrahlen auch Wasserstoff deutlich zeigen. Der Wasserbeh&auml;lter, in dem sich die Wurzel der Pflanze befindet, ist aus technischen Gr&uuml;nden nach oben hin abgedichtet worden.</p>
    Wie schnell trinkt die Tomate?
    Wissenschaftlern am Berliner Hahn-Meitner-Institut ist es erstmals gelungen, in deutlichen Bildern zu beobachten, wie schnell eine Pflanze Wasser aufnimmt. In einer Reihe von Aufnahmen, die einen Tomatensetzling zeigen, kann man genau verfolgen, wie das Wasser im Stiel aufsteigt. Dazu haben die Wissenschaftler dem Setzling ab einem bestimmten Zeitpunkt nur noch so genanntes schweres Wasser gegeben, das sich in den Bildern markant vom gewöhnlichen Wasser abhebt. Der Kontrast entsteht beim Durchleuchten der Pflanze mit Neutronen, die auf beide Wasserarten verschieden reagieren. [...]
  • Nachricht
    Muster im Lebendigen lesen: Erwin Schrödinger Preis 2003 für Dr. Martin Falcke

    Einer deutsch-amerikanischen Wissenschaftlergruppe ist es gelungen, durch Analyse von Mustern, die von der Kalziumkonzentration in lebenden Zellen gebildet werden, die Funktionsweise von Zellorganellen zu verstehen. Für diese grundlegenden Erkenntnisse erhielten der theoretische Physiker Martin Falcke vom Berliner Hahn-Meitner-Institut und die beiden Biologen Patricia Camacho und James D. Lechleiter von der University of Texas in San Antonio den Erwin-Schrödinger-Preis 2003, den der Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft für herausragende interdisziplinäre Forschung vergibt. Die Hermann von Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren hat die Preisträger vorgeschlagen und wird die Auszeichnungen auf ihrer Jahrestagung am 16. Oktober in Hamburg überreichen. [...]

  • Nachricht
    Verkehrsstau in der Nervenzelle vorausgesagt

    Die Nervenzellen unseres Körpers sind von einem dichten Netz von Wegen durchzogen, auf denen winzige biologische Transporter kleine mit lebenswichtigen Molekülen gefüllte Pakete transportieren. In der Abteilung Theorie des Berliner Hahn-Meitner-Instituts studieren Physiker anhand einfacher mathematischer Modelle die Eigenschaften des Straßenverkehrs in der Zelle. In einem Artikel, der kürzlich in der Zeitschrift Physical Review Letters erschienen ist, zeigen sie, dass es auf den Wegen in der Zelle zu einem Stau kommen kann, der stark demjenigen ähnelt, den wir von der Autobahn kennen. [...]

  • Nachricht
    Neutronen verraten Wasserstoff in Eiweißen

    Mit immer aufwendigeren Methoden wollen Forscher die feinsten Strukturen auch der lebenden Materie erkunden. So nutzen sie Synchrotronstrahlung und Neutronen, um die atomare Architektur von Proteinen zu enträtseln. Proteine (Eiweiße) sind organische Riesenmoleküle, die aus kompliziert gebauten und phantasievoll gefalteten Ketten Tausender Atome bestehen. Von der Aufklärung ihrer Strukturen auf atomarer Ebene versprechen sich die Wissenschaftler ein tieferes Verständnis der Funktion der an nahezu allen Lebensvorgängen beteiligten Proteine. [...]