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    Open trap of Dionaea muscipula with potential prey. Middle: basal part of a trigger hair, where action potentials are elicited in the sensory cells upon touch stimulation. During the late phase of the action potential, potassium ions need to be reimported into the sensory cells via KDM1 to enable the generation of consecutive action potentials.

    The display of a smartphone reacts to finger pressure. The carnivorous Venus flytrap, on the other hand, even notices when a lightweight like a fly lands on it. Special genes make this possible.

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    The longer the sword of the male (bottom), the greater the chances of its bearer being interested by a female (top). In the swordtail fish (Xiphophorus hellerii), scientists have now identified the genetic basis of sword growth. (Image: Georg Schneider / University of Würzburg)

    In many species all over the animal kingdom, males have eye-catching characteristics. Although often impractical, they are beneficial in finding a mate. Scientists have now mapped the genetic bases of such a male ornament in a fish.

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    Portrait photo of Andrea Christina Felfe

    Christina Felfe, Professor of Economics in Würzburg, has raised two million euros for her new project, which focuses on a socially relevant topic: dwindling social cohesion.

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    Sphingolipid expansion microscopy (ExM) of tenfold expanded cells infected with chlamydia. The bacterial membranes are marked green; the inner and outer membranes of the bacteria can be distinguished (c). Under (a) confocal laser scanning and under (b) structured illumination microscopy (SIM). Scale bars: 10 and 2 microns in the small white rectangles respectively.

    For the first time ever, expansion microscopy allows the imaging of even the finest details of cell membranes. This offers new insights into bacterial and viral infection processes.

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    Freeze Like a Star

    11/27/2020

    A new web exhibition of the Würzburg-Dresden Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter explores the mysteries of the quantum world.

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    Monocyte-derived dendritic cells after an infection with Aspergillus fumigatus (red) and the human cytomegalovirus (green).

    Infections with two pathogens pose a serious threat in the clinics. Researchers from Würzburg and Jena have developed a technique that provides new insights into this process and can be used as an early warning system.

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    The Würzburg Highly Cited Researchers 2020: Hermann Einsele, Rainer Hedrich, Andreas Rosenwald, Jörg Vogel, Frank Würthner, and the Citation Laureate Laurens Molenkamp.

    Their work is most frequently cited in publications of other scientists. Five researchers from the University of Würzburg are therefore again included in the Highly Cited Researchers 2020 List.

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    About 40 percent of all children who are dyslexic become mentally ill as they are often stigmatised and marginalised. But in fact, they are just as intelligent as other children.

    Genetic influences play a key role in the development of dyslexia. An international team of scientists has now identified another gene that is involved in this process.

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    The egg came first. Then the bee larvae grow up in the incubator and are regularly fed with a pipette. The sense of taste of adult honey bees is examined via their antennae.

    Scientists at the University of Würzburg have switched off a sugar receptor gene of the honey bee using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. Their study provides new insights into the taste perception of these insects.

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    Super-resolution images made in Würzburg: Expansion microscopy ExM can be used to precisely depict fine structures of the brain whose shape changes during learning and memory processes. Pyramid cells from the hippocampus of the mouse line Thy1-eGFP can be seen.

    Three experts for super-resolution microscopy jointly want to obtain better images of functioning and pathologically altered nerve cells. The European Research Council ERC is funding them with eleven million euros.

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    Breeding system of the sugarcane shot-hole borer Xyleborus affinis in a glass tube with artificial culture medium. At the end of a tunnel you can see a mother beetle with larvae. The tunnel walls are covered with a whitish-coloured layer of food and weed fungi.

    Ambrosia beetles are fascinating: they practice agriculture with fungi and they live in a highly developed social system. Biologist Peter Biedermann has now discovered new facts about them.

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    The schematically shown ribozyme (green) binds to the target RNA (blue) by base pairing and installs the methyl group (red flag) at a defined site of a selected adenine. The reaction product m1A is shown in the red circle.

    On the track of evolution: a catalytically active RNA molecule that specifically attaches methyl groups to other RNAs – a research group from the University of Würzburg reports on this new discovery in "Nature".

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    Artistic representation of human stomach cells infected with Helicobacter pylori, showing the special Hummingbird cell shape induced by the bacterium.

    The most important pathogenicity factors of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori are centrally regulated by a small RNA molecule, NikS. And this was not the only surprise that NikS provided.

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    Photo of a Venus flytrap with an insect inside.

    The carnivorous Venus flytrap snaps shut when a prey touches it twice within 30 seconds. In the journal Nature Plants researchers report on how this plant's short-term memory and counting system works.

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    Two point mutations are responsible for the fact that arginine is found in the NFATc1 protein instead of the amino acid lysine. This exchange prevents sumoylation and makes the affected T cells less aggressive.

    Minor changes in immune cells can significantly affect the immune response, scientists of the University of Würzburg have now discovered. Their findings could be relevant for stem cell therapy.

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