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When plants are flooded for a long time, they suffer damage. Würzburg researchers are investigating what happens in plant cells during flooding.

If plants are flooded, they lack oxygen and their cells over-acidify. A sensor protein detects this and triggers a stress response. Researchers have now presented details about this topic in the journal Current Biology.

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A buff-tailed bumblebee and a 3D model of the bumblebee brain, based on micro-CT. The blue regions symbolise the primary olfactory centres. The yellow/orange regions process visual information from the compound eyes, the turquoise coloured visual information from the ocelli. Shown in red/orange are the mushroom bodies important for learning. The insects' inner compass, the central complex, is green.

A three-dimensional atlas of the bumblebee brain is now available. It will allow to even better research how nerve cells are interconnected and how they process information.

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SMN is concentrated in the Cajal bodies (left, red) in the nucleus of human cells (blue). If phosphorylation of SMN is inhibited, the concentration ceases and Cajal bodies disappear.

Some proteins concentrate in certain places in the cell nucleus. A new study with Würzburg participation now shows how this happens. The results could contribute to a better understanding of a rare disease.

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A crane takes the researchers to the uppermost treetops to study the seasonal fluctuations of the water balance.

When trees die during a drought event, they die of thirst: A field study on spruce trees shows that an abrupt collapse of the hydraulic system is responsible.

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During drought, the signalling molecule GABA is produced and inhibits the opening of leaf pores (left). If the enzyme GAD2, which converts glutamate to GABA, is genetically switched off, the pores remain open even during drought - the plants lose more water (centre). If the gene for GAD2 is reintroduced into the closing cells, the defect is reversed. The experiment shows that the sphincter cells autonomously perceive stress and react to it with GABA production.

During drought, plants use a signalling molecule known from animals to limit their water loss. The molecule provides them with a kind of memory of how dry the day was.

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Model of the SMN complex, stained yeast cells can be seen in the background.

Capturing the structure of large molecular complexes with variable shape is an extremely difficult task. Scientists from Würzburg and Montpellier now have been able to do it – thanks to a new approach regarding an important protein machine.

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Measurements have shown how the hummingbird hawkmoth uses optic flow for flight control and orientation.

How do hawkmoths use visual patterns in different parts of their visual field? While researching this question, a team from the Würzburg Biocentre experienced a surprise.

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Confocal fluorescence images of glass surfaces coated with the cyanine dyes Alexa Fluor 647 (a) and CF660C (b) and with carborhodamine dye ATTO647N (c) after light excitation at 568 nanometres (nm). By exciting the red-absorbing dyes at 640 nm in certain areas (negative images top right), dyes are photoconverted there and it is possible to write letters on the surface that were excited at 568 nm and fluoresce at about 580 nm. The carborhodamine dye shows more efficient photobluing than the cyanine dyes.

An undesirable effect can occur in super-resolution fluorescence microscopy: photoblueing. A new publication in „Nature Methods“ shows how it can be prevented or made useful for research.

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With two additional genes for the enzyme dioxygenase and the light-controlled anion channel ACR1, the tobacco plant can channel salt ions across the cell membrane when exposed to green light. The success can be seen in the experiment: While pollen tubes normally grow in the direction of the egg cell for fertilization, in genetically modified cells they change the direction of growth depending on the exposure to light.

Optogenetics can be used to activate and study cells in a targeted manner using light. Scientists at the University of Würzburg have now succeeded in transferring this technique to plants.

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Survival curve of the TH-MYCN mouse model during long-term treatment with Aurora-A inhibitor (purple), ATR inhibitor (blue) or the combination of both agents (red). It is clearly visible that the combination therapy prolongs survival time.

With two commercially available inhibitors, the cell cycle of the cancer cells in the childhood tumour neuroblastoma can be disrupted at a key point causing tumour cell death.

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Women meditating in front of a full moon.

Does the moon affect women's menstrual cycles? This question has been controversial for a long time. A new study by chronobiologists from Würzburg now suggest that such an influence does exist. It's complicated, though.

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