What are the functions of the skin membrane

02.05.2003 14:31

How the work in the anthill "cell" is distributed

Axel Burchardt University Communication Department / Press and Information Department
Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Nobel laureate in medicine Günter Blobel will speak in Jena on May 6th at 5 p.m.

Jena (May 2nd, 2003) If you look into an anthill, it is difficult to see the tasks of the individual ant. However, the result shows that there is not chaos, but coordination - with precisely distributed tasks. It is similar with humans: the adult consists of approx. 100,000 billion cells, which form the body according to a scheme which the layperson can hardly understand. But each of these cells is in turn subdivided, as we have known since 1945. How the various functions of a cell look and are controlled is what Prof. Dr. Günter Blobel in his public lecture on "Division of Labor in the Cell". The Nobel Prize laureate in medicine will speak on Tuesday, May 6th, starting at 5 p.m. in the Jena Zeiss Planetarium (Am Planetarium 5) as part of the Ernst Abbe Colloquium jointly organized by the Friedrich Schiller University and the Ernst Abbe Foundation align. Admission is free.

The different functions of a cell are housed in specialized compartments surrounded by a thin skin (called a membrane). The functions in the anthill cell are passed on by specific "load ants": the so-called proteins. There are around a billion of these protein molecules per cell and each of these molecules has to be transported through the membrane to the correct location of the next cell. Günter Blobel explains in a generally understandable way during his lecture how traffic jams at the "door stations" are avoided, how every load ant finds its right door, how the "brain of the load ants" works and is deciphered by a diverse range of equipment. The molecular biologist was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1999 for discovering that every protein load ant has an address label with which it finds its place of action in the cell. Errors in reading this address can lead to diseases such as cystic fibrosis or Alzheimer's.

Günter Blobel (66) has been working in the USA since 1963, currently at Rockefeller University in New York. In 1987 he became an American citizen. But the native Silesian has a special relationship with Central Germany. He grew up in Saxony and witnessed the destruction of the Frauenkirche in Dresden at the end of the Second World War. A lasting impression that drove him to act after the fall of the Wall. For the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche and the construction of a new synagogue, Blobel donated the funds that he received for the Nobel Prize. In addition, the award-winning scientist founded the "Friends of Dresden" association in 1995 and is therefore not only a researcher into the transfer of information between cells, but also an active mediator between the cultures of America and Germany.

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