Yearbook 2006

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The purpose of this article is to give an overview of generalized triangle inequalities in symmetric spaces and their application in representation theory. more
From a polygon in the plane with additional symmetries one can glue together closed surfaces. On the space of all such surfaces two flows act. Statistical properties of the thus obtained are closely related to statistical properties of the action of the transformation class group. more
The numerical approximation of physical or biological models leads to large systems of equations that have to be solved as rapidly as possible by a computer. If these systems are approximated by H2-matrices, they can be handled far more efficiently than by standard methods. Under certain conditions it is even possible to reach the optimal order of complexity, i.e., to ensure that the number of operations is proportional to the size of the solution vector. more
Models for materials which are valid on the length scales of day-to-day experience describe quantities which are derived by averaging over many degrees of freedom of a finer length scale. The deviations from this average due to thermal effects or impurities are often negligible. In some situations, however, they can trigger effects which are observable on the rough length scale. This is exemplified by the mathematical investigation of a prototypical model. more
Many organisms exhibit photoreceptors in order to adapt to changing light conditions. The photoreceptor family of phototropins and the only recently identified BLUF (sensor of blue light using FAD) photoreceptors control a number of interesting cellular processes depending on blue light signals. By quantum chemical and structural investigations, important insights into the mechanism of function of these light switches have been gathered at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research. more
'Genechips' are powerful tools to study simultaneously the expression of essentially all genes. The enormous cellular complexity of the mammalian brain, however, is a major obstacle for sensitive gene expression profiling, for example when analyzing mouse models of neurological diseases. Scientist at the MPI for Experimental Medicine have solved this problem by labeling individual cells in transgenic mice that express a nuclear fluorescent protein. Using laser-directed microdissection, expression profiles can be obtained from as few as 100 isolated neurons. more
In neurobiological applications, brain morphometry is termed as a description of brain structure based on imaging modalities of size, shape, and texture. Hence, morphometry promises approaches on in-vivo characterisations of many neurological or psychiatric pathologies. This report shall outline the essential techniques of modern digital morphometry. Because structural alterations of brain tissues, as obtained by magnetic resonance imaging, are not necessarily related to a pathological process, the role of general physiological factors will be also discussed in this report. more

Stability of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

Max Planck Institute for Meteorology Jungclaus, Johann; Baehr, Johanna; Haak, Helmuth; Jacob, Daniela; Koenigk, Torben; Marotzke, Jochem
The evolution and stability of the meridional overturning circulation in the Atlantic under global warming conditions, its observational characteristics, and the detectability of such anthropogenic changes have been investigated with the MPI-M climate model. For realistic projections of the climate evolution in the 21st century, the model indicates a reduction of 30-42%, but no total breakdown of the overturning circulation. Natural variability on time scales of days to decades requires long-term observations in the Atlantic to detect a potential decrease. more
Sexual development of the phytopathogenic fungus Ustilago maydis is governed by the mating type loci a and b. The a2 locus genes lga2 and rga2 encode mitochondrial proteins, whose expression is coupled to the sexual cycle. These proteins compromise mitochondrial integrity and pathogenesis in the absence of the mitochondrial p32 family protein Mrb1. Lga2 interferes with mitochondrial fusion and together with Rga2 has a possible function in controlling mitochondrial inheritance. more
The Nutrient Group was established in May 2005 as an independent junior research group funded by the Max Planck Society. Research focuses on processes that control nutrient nitrogen availability in past and present marine environments. Specifically, environmental regulation of these processes and their effects on global biogeochemical cycles are investigated. As these cycling processes are typcially mediated by microorganisms, combinations of newly developed geochemical, microbiological and molecular-ecological techniques are applied in these studies. One of the current projects of the Nutrient Group is an elucidation on the role of the recently described anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) within the oceanic nitrogen cycle. more

Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)

Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics Knez, Mato; Nielsch, Kornelius; Gösele, Ulrich
Nanostructures are in the focus of research in technology, medicine and biology. The Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle currently develops a major research project which deals with the deposition of thin inorganic films, biological, organic and inorganic nanostructures and the exploitation of such functionalized materials, for applications in medicine, electronics, catalysis, and sensing. more

Cytoskeleton: Architecture and movement of cells

Max Planck Research Unit for Structural Molecular Biology at DESY Mandelkow, Eckhard
The "Max-Planck-Unit for Structural Molecular Biology" in Hamburg investigates the structure and function of biomolecules, with particular emphasis on the applications of synchrotron radiation for the elucidation of protein structures of biomedical interest. The "Cytoskeleton" group focuses on the structure, self-assembly, and dynamics of protein fibers in cells, in particular on microtubules and their associated proteins which are responsible for cell movement, cell division, cell differentiation, or intracellular transport. One of the microtubule associated proteins, tau protein, forms pathological aggregates in nerve cells affected by Alzheimer's disease. Recent findings reveal a linkage between tau's multiple functions and the cellular transport system which could prove essential for the aetiology of Alzheimer's disease. more
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