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Guest seminar by Patricia Müller

Institution: Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Department of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, AK Alexander Heckel

Date & Time: Wednesday, January 29th 2020, 10:00 a. m.

Location: Lecture hall 2, Building 13 'Biomedical Center', Campus-Venusberg, Bonn

Host: Prof. Gunther Hartmann


Light-Inducible Oligonucleotides

Patricia Müller investigates the use of light-inducible antisense oligonucleotides as therapeutic agents in the laboratory of Prof. Alexander Heckel at Goethe Universität Frankfurt. One of the group's main interests is the spatiotemporal control of the activity of biologically active compounds like nucleic acids. Therefore, one or several moieties of oligonucleotides are
equipped with photolabile protecting groups via solid-phase synthesis (phosphoramidite building blocks), bioconjugation, or chemo-enzymatically.
As the application of specific miRNA inhibitors (antimiRs) implies a great therapeutic potential to regulate miRNAs, Patricia Müller focuses on the design and synthesis of light-inducible antimiRs promising to reduce adverse events due to systemic administration. She could successfully show the local down-regulation of antiangiogenic miR-92a expression in vivo in murine skin with UV irradiation at 385 nm. Based on these findings, the concept of light-dependent local activation was further developed to treat other diseases, e.g. acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Hence, new photo-cleavable linkers were designed and synthesized to be cleaved in the phototherapeutic window. In the first series of experiments, Patricia Müller has now begun to evaluate the therapeutic potential of light-inducible antimiR-34a.

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2019 Retreat of the

On Thursday, November 28th, the Transregio 237 came together to its second retreat. Held in the conference center of the University Innsbruck in Obergurgl, this year's retreat had three main goals. First, the presentation of new data and concepts by project leaders and students. Second, meeting with colleagues to build and strengthen cooperation within the Transregio. And third, discussing the strategic development of projects and the Transregio for the coming years.

Accordingly, the schedule mainly focused on presentations and discussions in the conference hall. A hiking tour through the snowy Alps, fantastic meals, and table tennis matches gave room for discussions in small groups.


Transregio 237

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Besides presenting and discussing the scientific developments in Nucleic Acid Immunity, our tight schedule allowed us to enjoy the Austrian Alps as well. A hiking tour along the slopes with the fresh air and some physical activity motivated for the next session. In the evening, after a fantastic dinner, we met for table tennis matches, small group discussions, and a discovery tour of Obergurgl's Nightlife.

Nucleic Acid Immunity

On Sunday, December 1st, we left Obergurgl for this year. Having gained new ideas to be tested within the projects and in cooperation, we are looking forward to our next meeting discussing Nucleic Acid Immunity.


Congratulations to Prof. Gunther Hartmann for being elected as Member of the Henry Kunkel Society.

December 18th, 2019


The Henry Kunkel Society
1230 York Avenue・New York, NY 10065
P: 212-327-7332・F: 212-327-7330
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The Henry Kunkel Society

The Henry Kunkel Society (HKS) is a prestigious organization dedicated to fostering patient-based and patient-oriented scientific research, particularly in the field of immunology, as exemplified by the scientific life of Dr. Henry Kunkel at Rockefeller University. Originally founded in 1990 and comprising of only 50 members at that time, most of whom were former trainees of Henry Kunkel, the Society has grown to include over 400 elected members, all dedicated to experimental medicine in the field of human immunology. We hope that the Society will continue to grow as an organization that brings together and fosters the success of investigators like Prof. Hartmann, who share this common goal.

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Guest seminar by Dr. Anna-Lena Steckelberg

Institution: University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, AG Jeffrey Kieft

Date & Time: Wednesday, November 27, 2019, 10:00 a. m.

Location: Seminar room 4, Building 10 'Lehrgebäude', Venusberg, Bonn

Host: Prof. Gunther Hartmann

Viral manipulation of RNA decay

Dr. Anna-Lena Steckelberg investigates viral RNA resistance to degradation by the 5'-3' exoribonuclease XRN1 in the laboratory of Prof. Jeffrey Kieft at the University of Colorado. The Kieft lab had previously identified RNA structures that resist XRN1 degradation (called xrRNAs) in human-pathogenic flaviviruses. Dr. Steckelberg identified xrRNAs in plant-infecting RNA viruses, highlighting that other viral RNA species unrelated to flaviviruses have evolved similar mechanisms to avoid XRN1 degradation. Using X-ray crystallography, she revealed a complex RNA fold that is very different from that of flavivirus xrRNAs, yet shares common features that may represent defining structural determinants of xrRNAs. Single-molecule FRET experiments demonstrate that the plant virus xrRNA undergoes conformational changes and can use "co-degradational remodelling", exploiting the exoribonucleases degradation-linked helicase activity to help form its resistant structure. Her work highlights how highly divergent RNA viruses have developed diverse RNA-based strategies to inhibit exoribonucleases and suggests that manipulation of nuclease activity through RNA structure might be a widespread mechanism.

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CSF Conference

September 22-26, 2019

Monte Verità, Switzerland



Nucleic Acid Immunity

Together with Prof. Andrea Ablasser of the Global Health Institute, EPF Lausanne, Prof. Gunther Hartmann of the SFB/Transregio 237 has hosted the CSF Conference 'Nucleic Acid Immunity in Health and Disease'. The conference was held in Monte Verità, Switzerland, from September 22 to 26, 2019, and featured 20 presentations by outstanding researchers of the field. Amongst the speakers were 6 representatives of our Transregio 237 presenting their projects on nucleic acid immunity.  Pictures taken at the conference can be found here.

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The UKB Family Room

BMZ Foyer in Bonn, June 26th 2019


The UKB Family Room is supported by the office of gender equality of the UKB, the SFB/Transregio 237, Bo&MeRanG, and the ImmunoSensation2 Cluster.


Picture © Johann Saba / UKB

left to right: Tanja Banavas, Lucie Delforge, Simon Görgen, Alexandra Krämer, Sophie Krimmer


Opening ceremony

The UKB Family Room has officially opened its doors for scientists and coworkers with children. More than 40 interested scientists and colleagues joined the opening ceremony to celebrate and to inform themselves about the possibilities it offers. Ms. Banavas, Ms. Krimmer and Ms. Krämer of the UKB’s gender equality office and ImmunoSensation2 Cluster Coordination Office lead the ceremony and presented the room, located in the biomedical center of the Venusberg Campus. The room is equipped with toys, puzzles, tables, and seats to entertain and comfort children and their parents. For our pregnant colleagues, it provides a daybed for resting phases. Together with PME Family Services, on-location daycare can be provided during conferences and events on the campus. Ms. Kolits, representing PME, further introduced the back-up and emergency service offered for individual daycare in case of a closed KiTa or a sick child.

The support of the UKB Family Room complements our efforts to develop the compatibility for family and working life for our scientists and colleagues.

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Guest seminar by Dr. Markus Hafner

Institution: NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Date & Time: Monday, June 17, 2019, 11:30 a. m. (11:30 Hrs)

Location: Lecture hall (basement floor), Biomedizinisches Zentrum (BMZ), Venusberg

Host: Prof. Dr. Katrin Paeschke

Integrative Analysis of RNA Binding Protein Targets and Funtion

Dr. Markus Hafner an Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. His RNA Molecular Biology Group (RMBG) studies the impact of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) on posttranscriptional gene regulation (PTGR). PTGR summarizes various processes acting upon coding and non-coding RNA and includes RNA maturation, ribonucleoprotein (RNP) assembly, transport, translation, and turnover. The recent introduction of large-scale quantitative methods, such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) and modern mass spectrometry (MS), allows for the first time determination of the functional impact of RBPs on a systems-wide level and has sparked a renewed interest in the systematic characterization of PTGR processes. Members of the RMBG focus on elucidating the function and molecular mechanisms of RNA binding proteins involved in RNA transport, RNA stability and turnover, and RNA translation.

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Poster presentation

‘Vasculitis International Workshop’

April 7-10, 2019

Philadelphia, USA


Nina Kessler (B16) & Susanne Viehmann

Proudly the doctoral students Nina Kessler (right) and Susanne Viehmann (left) present their poster on cGAS/STING in the development of vasculitis. Their poster, presented at the ‘Vasculitis International Workshop’ in Philadelphia, was well received among the participants of the workshop and selected for a poster presentation tour. Nina works on the Transregio project B16 'Cellular and molecular mechanisms of nucleic acid recognition in ANCA-associated pulmonary vasculitis' in the lab of Prof. Garbi at the Institute of Experimental Immunology in Bonn. At the same institute, Susanne conducts her research project in the lab of Prof. Kurts. 

We congratulate everybody involved, and especially Nina and Susanne, on their work.

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