LC10 is a type of neuron that helps fruit fly males to recognize and track the movements of a female. mCarmine, on the other hand, is a protein that was developed by using a new method and which provides amazingly deep insights into brain tissue. Both discoveries have in common that they were largely driven by young scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology. For their publications of these studies in the journals Cell and Cell Chemical Biology, Inês Ribeiro and Arne Fabritius received the Young Scientist Award 2018.
The award-winning publications and authors
LC10 – the neuron that tracks fruit flies
Many animals rely on vision to detect, locate, and track moving objects. Male Drosophila fruit flies primarily use visual cues to stay close to a female and to direct their courtship song towards her. Scientists from the Borst department and the Janelia Research Campus (USA) now described the nerve cells, which allow the detection and tracking of a moving female. The results suggest that these LC10 cells constitute an essential pathway to relay visual information that is necessary for efficient courtship in fruit flies.
Further information on the award-winning publication
Inês Ribeiro studied Biology at the University of Lisbon in Lisbon (Portugal), where she also gained her PhD in cooperation with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. After a Postdoc at the Janelia Research Campus, she joined the department "Circuits - Computation - Models" of Alexander Borst at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in 2014.
Protein for deeper insights into the brain
To be able to examine the function of individual cells or structures in intact tissue, these need to be visible. This may sound trivial, but it is not. To achieve this, researchers implant fluorescent proteins into cells. These will then produce the proteins themselves, without the cell functions being disturbed: cells, structures or their activities thus become visible under the microscope. However, the proteins need to be optimized for their use in research. The required “protein engineering”, in which highly sensitive and specific proteins are developed, is a dedicated research branch. Scientists from Griesbeck group have now developed a method that provides for a significant improvement of protein engineering, by means of automated computer analysis and a robot-supported selection process. This has been verified by first successes achieved with a deep red protein.
Further Information on the award-winning publication
Arne Fabritius studied Molecular Biotechnology at Technical University of Munich. In 2012 he joined Oliver Griesbeck’s group "Tools for Bio-Imaging" at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, where he gained his PHD. Since 2016 continued his work at the lab as a postdoc.