Scientists receive a boost for research with cutting-edge imaging methods

The German Research Foundation and State of NRW grant Münster University 7.5 million euros for a cryo-electron microscope
Molecular 3D model of a toxin (diameter eight nanometres) from cryogenic electron microscope images (in the background). Such studies will soon be possible at the University of Münster.
© Maximilian Rüttermann - AG Gatsogiannis

Many scientists have longed for it and now it is coming to be: following approval of their application to the German Research Foundation’s "Large-scale Research Equipment" funding programme, researchers from the University of Münster will receive equipment for high-performance cryogenic electron microscopy. The equipment will enable the researchers to make molecular processes visible – for example, in human cells – and to examine particles such as viruses and synthetic nanostructures three-dimensionally, down to their individual atoms. The German Research Foundation and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia are providing a total of 7.5 million euros for the preparatory equipment and the latest-generation high-resolution microscope, which will be located in a purpose-built laboratory at the Center for Soft Nanoscience (SoN).

And here the official press-release.

Press release idw WWU 06.12.2021

When spider venom attacks the nerves: research team examines neurotoxin from a Black Widow
The team used cryo-electron microscopy to reveal the structures of toxins specific to insects and crustaceans
Photo:; Figure: Gatsogiannis Group

Although many people lose their nerve and panic when they see a spider, only very few of the creatures are actually dangerous. The Black Widow, however, is a force to be reckoned with: it catches its prey by means of nerve poison – to be precise, latrotoxins (LaTXs). Prof. Christos Gatsogiannis from the Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics at Münster University investigated the substance – also with a view to medical applications. Using cryo-EM Gatsogiannis’ team succeeded in explaining the first structure of an LaTX. The research team’s findings have now been published in the Nature Communications journal.

Here you can find the Publication in Nature Communications.

And here the official press-release.

Press release University Hospital Münster 18.12.2020

How peroxisomes "fish" for their enzymes: Scientists reveal the structure of the peroxisomal docking complex
Scheme of the peroxisomal Pex14pPex17p docking-complex, elucidated with electron cryo-microscopy (Fig.: Gatsogiannis)

Freiburg/Bochum/Münster - Peroxisomes are vital membrane-enclosed organelles that are found in every cell and are responsible, among other things, for its detoxification. For this purpose, they are equipped with an arsenal of enzymes. A team of scientists from the Universities of Freiburg, Bochum and Münster has now elucidated the first structure of the docking apparatus of peroxisomes, which captures enzymes for transport into the peroxisomes. The results were obtained in the DFG Research Unit "Structure and Function of the Peroxisomal Translocon" and have been published in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America" (PNAS).

Here you can find the Publication in PNAS.

And here the official press-release.