The Department of Genes and Behavior investigates the dynamic interplay between gene expression, development and behavior in the mouse. Recently we developed efficient methods to detect, visualize, archive and mine spatial gene expression patterns in mammalian tissues at the mRNA level (www.genepaint.org). These data provide a powerful starting point to address the genetic regulatory network. Research focusing on mammalian brain development attempts to establish hierarchies in signaling cascades while our chronobiology studies are directed at the discovery and elucidation of novel pathways by which genes control circadian behavior at an organismal level.
The chemical compound anle138b eases cognitive deficits and normalizes gene expression in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease and it seems to close harmful openings in the membrane of nerve cells as an international team of researchers including researchers of the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry found out. The scientists suggest that anle138b should be validated in clinical trials for its potential to treat Alzheimer’s and further neurodegenerative diseases.
Max Planck researchers visualize cilia-based networks in the brain, which could transport vital messenger substances to where they are needed. Through synchronized beating movements, they create a complex network of dynamic flows that act like conveyor belts transporting molecular “freight”.
The genetic network of the circadian clock coordinates the communication between the organism and its environment Circadian clocks regulate a plethora of physiological processes including the sleep/wake cycle, blood pressure and body temperature. Such clocks enable organisms to adjust to the 24-hour day/night cycle resulting from the rotation of the earth. Virtually all living beings have a circadian clock and in the case of multicellular organisms, most cell types house such a clock. The clock mechanism consists of a stable network of genes and proteins that mutually regulate each other, thereby not only establishing a self-sustaining clockwork but enabling this clock to adjust to periodic environmental changes such as availability of light and access to food. (in German)more