The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association carries out basic biomedical research. We try to understand the causes of diseases at the molecular level, in order to better diagnose, treat and prevent them. Our aim is to transfer our findings as quickly as possible into practical applications.

 

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Research Highlights

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Mice with a cool touch

The feel of an object and its temperature are interpreted by the same region of the brain, a new study by researchers at the MDC and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has shown. The research, published in Nature Neuroscience, reveals details of how we detect small changes in temperature and provides a mechanism to explain the illusion known as Weber's effect.

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Comprehensive new map helps understanding of gene regulation by microRNAs

All the cells in our bodies, be they nerve or kidney cells, blood or skin cells, carry the same genetic information. And yet they all differ considerably. This is because different genes are transcribed in each cell type. In recent years, scientists have found a new class of molecules, so-called “microRNAs,” that play a crucial role in this gene regulation. An enzyme known as Dicer is involved in the formation of these microRNAs. A team of researchers led by Markus Landthaler and Nikolaus Rajewsky at the MDC’s Berlin Institute for Molecular Systems Biology (BIMSB) have recently compiled a comprehensive map of the RNA-binding and processing sites of Dicer, which they published in the journal Cell. Increased understanding of the basic mechanisms governing gene regulation could help in the search for targeted drugs and therapies.

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