Yearbook 2007

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At the end of the fifteenth Century the Cesarini family ascended to the nobility of Rome. In order to consolidate this position, they developed specific strategies: They claimed to descend from the ancient nobility of Rome and they exploited their office of the Roman standard-bearer (Gonfaloniere) to demonstrate their close connection with the traditions of Rome. A study in the Research Area „Malerei und Bildkünste der Frühen Neuzeit“ of the Bibliotheca Hertziana reconstructs these strategies in detail. more
This article describes an optical microscopy method with nanoscale resolution independent of the wavelength, based on atomic force microscopy, where a scanning tip is used for mechanical probing and for scattering optical near-fields. Operating at infrared frequencies, potential applications range from characterization of solid state surfaces to identification of single nanoparticles and macromolecules. more
Life in concentrated brines under extreme conditions of nutrition requires extreme adaptation. By molecular and functional analysis of cellular constituents of halophilic archaea it is possible to gain insight into the biology of these fascinating organisms on a systems level of the cell. more
How does the biosphere and biogeochemical cycles react to climate variability? What are the main vegetation and soil processes involved? How can the different observation systems be used at various spatial scales to obtain improved diagnostic capabilities concerning the Earth System? The Biogeochemical Model-Data Integration Group at the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena is dedicated to these and related scientific questions using a highly integrative approach. more
Nature hasn’t made things easy for mammals. Admittedly, as any other vertebrate – they develop from a fertilised egg, but unlike fish or frogs, the embryo cannot prosper by itself. Only if it succeeds, after having divided a couple of times, in implanting with its outer cells in the womb, its inner cells will create a foetus. It has long been unclear as to when and how the cells of an embryo pursue various lineages. Scientists of the MPI for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster have now advanced a great deal towards unravelling this mystery. more
1. Variants of the mitochondrial cytochrome bc1 complex created by site-directed mutagenesis produce deleterious oxygen radicals, which are implied in aging processes and pathophysiological conditions. 2. The regulation of the cellular ion composition by sodium-proton-antiporters is essential. The first atomic structure of such a transporter was determined and a mechanistic model for regulation and transport developed. more
The atomic structures of a bacterial succinate:quinone oxidoreductase and of mechanistically interesting variants have been determined by X-ray crystallography. Together with complementary functional studies, these results have yielded unequivocal evidence for a novel type of essential transmembrane proton transfer driving transmembrane electron transfer in this protein complex. more
Neural synchrony represents a possible mechanism to coordinate distributed neural activity patterns in cortical networks. Evidence is emerging that besides a role for cognitive processes, neural synchrony may function as an important pathophysiological and developmental mechanism in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. more
Neurons in primary visual cortex have been thought of as spatially restricted analyzers of the visual field. However, a single neuron’s response is also critically influenced by the visual context outside its receptive field. This report deals with investigations how contextual stimuli get integrated into the activity patterns of the visual cortex and which neuronal structures convey the subthreshold activity crucial for that integration. more
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