Research Focus

Stochasticity in intracellular processes causes substantial heterogeneity in the molecular constitution of genetically identical cells. Yet, biological systems manage to act in a highly robust and well-orchestrated manner when this is needed, for instance during pattern formation or cell differentiation. In the Zechner lab, we develop theoretical and computational approaches to study how living systems reliably encode, process and respond to signals despite their limited precision. In the long term, we want to understand the principles that guide heterogeneous biological components towards robust and complex organization. The lab uses a multidisciplinary approach combining signal and control theory, stochastic processes and statistical physics. While our contributions are largely theoretical, we work very closely together with our experimental collaborators at the MPI-CBG and abroad.

Current news by this research group

A role for RNA in Stress Granules assembly

Stress granules are membraneless compartments formed by phase separation of specific molecules upon exposure to cellular stress such as oxidative stress, heat shock, or osmotic stress. The Alberti, Jahnel, Honigmann, and Hyman labs published a study in cell highlighting the role of RNA in the…

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Filament formation by the translation factor eIF2B regulates protein synthesis in starved cells

Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs), the enzymes responsible for coupling tRNAs to their cognate amino acids, minimize translational errors by intrinsic hydrolytic editing. Here, we compared norvaline (Nva), a linear amino acid not coded for protein synthesis, to the proteinogenic, branched valine…

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Condensation regulates translation

New insights into the influence of Ded1p condensation on translation comes from the Hyman, Alberti and Kreysing labs. The study published in Cell is entitled "Condensation of Ded1p Promotes a Translational Switch from Housekeeping to Stress Protein Production". Graphical abstract: Abstract: Cells…

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Alberti Lab is accepting applications for MSc, PhD, and Postdoc

We are always looking for highly motivated and creative students. Students interested in a master’s project with a focus on biochemistry, biophysics or cell biology are encouraged to apply. Students interested in a PhD project should apply to the Dresden International Graduate School for…

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Local nucleation of microtubule bundles through tubulin concentration into a condensed tau phase

Theskeleton that supports the structure of our cells, termed cytoskeleton is formed of several kinds of polymers including actin and microtubules. How the single units on the polymers (monomers and dimers) are concentrated to gether to synthesize the polymer is the subject of this study by the labs…

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