Aktuelle Publikationen

Auf dieser Seite finden Sie die chronologisch geordneten Veröffentlichungen unserer Wissenschaftler*innen aus den vergangenen Jahren.

Aktuelle Publikationen (Politik- und Verwaltungswissenschaft)

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  • (2023): Heparin Specifically Interacts with Basic BBXB Motifs of the Chemokine CCL21 to Define CCR7 Signaling International Journal of Molecular Sciences ; 24 (2023), 2. - 1670. - MDPI. - ISSN 1661-6596. - eISSN 1422-0067

    Heparin Specifically Interacts with Basic BBXB Motifs of the Chemokine CCL21 to Define CCR7 Signaling


    Chemokines are critically involved in controlling directed leukocyte migration. Spatiotemporal secretion together with local retention processes establish and maintain local chemokine gradients that guide directional cell migration. Extracellular matrix proteins, particularly glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), locally retain chemokines through electrochemical interactions. The two chemokines CCL19 and CCL21 guide CCR7-expressing leukocytes, such as antigen-bearing dendritic cells and T lymphocytes, to draining lymph nodes to initiate adaptive immune responses. CCL21—in contrast to CCL19—is characterized by a unique extended C-terminus composed of highly charged residues to facilitate interactions with GAGs. Notably, both chemokines can trigger common, but also ligand-biased signaling through the same receptor. The underlying molecular mechanism of ligand-biased CCR7 signaling is poorly understood. Using a series of naturally occurring chemokine variants in combination with newly designed site-specific chemokine mutants, we herein assessed CCR7 signaling, as well as GAG interactions. We demonstrate that the charged chemokine C-terminus does not fully confer CCL21-biased CCR7 signaling. Besides the positively charged C-terminus, CCL21 also possesses specific BBXB motifs comprising basic amino acids. We show that CCL21 variants where individual BBXB motifs are mutated retain their capability to trigger G-protein-dependent CCR7 signaling, but lose their ability to interact with heparin. Moreover, we show that heparin specifically interacts with CCL21, but not with CCL19, and thereby competes with ligand-binding to CCR7 and prevents signaling. Hence, we provide evidence that soluble heparin, but not the other GAGs, complexes with CCL21 to define CCR7 signaling in a ligand-dependent manner.

  • (2023): Democratic Backsliding and Organized Interests in Central and Eastern Europe : An Introduction Politics and Governance ; 11 (2023), 1. - S. 1-4. - Cogitatio Press. - eISSN 2183-2463

    Democratic Backsliding and Organized Interests in Central and Eastern Europe : An Introduction


    This editorial introduces readers to the thematic issue on organized interests in the context of democratic backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe.

  • (2023): Surfactant Semiconductors as Trojan Horses in Cell‐Membranes for On‐Demand and Spatial Regulation of Oxidative Stress Advanced Healthcare Materials ; 2023. - Wiley. - ISSN 2192-2640. - eISSN 2192-2659

    Surfactant Semiconductors as Trojan Horses in Cell‐Membranes for On‐Demand and Spatial Regulation of Oxidative Stress


    Oxidative stress is a cause for numerous diseases and aging processes. Thus, researchers are keen to tune the level of intracellular stress and to learn from that. An unusual approach is presented here. The methodology involves multifunctional surfactants. Although their molecular design is nonbiological—a fullerenol head group attached covalently to pi-conjugated dyes—the surfactants possess superior biocompatibility. Using an intrinsic fluorescence signal as a probe, it is shown that the amphiphiles become incorporated into the Caco-2 cells. There, they are able to exhibit additional functions. The compound reduces cellular stress in dark reaction pathways. The antagonistic property is activated under irradiation, the photocatalytic production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in cell damage. The feature is activated even by near-infrared light (NIR-light) via a two-photon process. The properties as molecular semiconductors lead to a trojan horse situation and allows the programming of the spatial distribution of cytotoxicity.

  • (2023): Exploring the determinants of reinvestment decisions : Sense of personal responsibility, preferences, and loss framing Frontiers in Psychology ; 13 (2023). - 1025181. - Frontiers Research Foundation. - eISSN 1664-1078

    Exploring the determinants of reinvestment decisions : Sense of personal responsibility, preferences, and loss framing


    Two potentially costly errors are common in sequential investment decisions: sticking too long to a failing course of action (escalation of commitment), and abandoning a successful course of action prematurely. Past research has mostly focused on escalation of commitment, and identified three critical determinants: personal responsibility, preferences for prior decisions, and decision framing. We demonstrate in three studies using an incentivized poker inspired task that these determinants of escalation reliably lead decision makers to keep investing even when real money is on the line. We observed in Experiments 1, 2 and 3 that reinvestments were more likely when decision makers were personally responsible for prior decisions. This likelihood was also increased when the decision makers had indicated a preference for initial investments (Experiments 2 and 3), and when outcomes were framed in terms of losses as compared to gains (Experiment 3). Both types of decision errors – escalation of commitment and prematurely abandoning a course of action – could be traced to the same set of determinants. Being personally responsible for prior decisions, having a preference for the initial investment, and loss framing did increase escalation, whereas lacking personal responsibility, having no preference for the initial investment, and gain framing increased the likelihood of prematurely opting out. Finally, personal responsibility had a negative effect on decision quality, as decision-makers were still more likely to reinvest when they were personally responsible for prior decisions, than when prior decisions were assigned optimally by an algorithm (Experiments 2 and 3).

  • (2023): Dynamic Metabolic and Transcriptional Responses of Proteasome-Inhibited Neurons Antioxidants ; 12 (2023), 1. - 164. - MDPI. - eISSN 2076-3921

    Dynamic Metabolic and Transcriptional Responses of Proteasome-Inhibited Neurons


    Proteasome inhibition is associated with parkinsonian pathology in vivo and degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in vitro. We explored here the metabolome (386 metabolites) and transcriptome (3257 transcripts) regulations of human LUHMES neurons, following exposure to MG-132 [100 nM]. This proteasome inhibitor killed cells within 24 h but did not reduce viability for 12 h. Overall, 206 metabolites were changed in live neurons. The early (3 h) metabolome changes suggested a compromised energy metabolism. For instance, AMP, NADH and lactate were up-regulated, while glycolytic and citric acid cycle intermediates were down-regulated. At later time points, glutathione-related metabolites were up-regulated, most likely by an early oxidative stress response and activation of NRF2/ATF4 target genes. The transcriptome pattern confirmed proteostatic stress (fast up-regulation of proteasome subunits) and also suggested the progressive activation of additional stress response pathways. The early ones (e.g., HIF-1, NF-kB, HSF-1) can be considered a cytoprotective cellular counter-regulation, which maintained cell viability. For instance, a very strong up-regulation of AIFM2 (=FSP1) may have prevented fast ferroptotic death. For most of the initial period, a definite life–death decision was not taken, as neurons could be rescued for at least 10 h after the start of proteasome inhibition. Late responses involved p53 activation and catabolic processes such as a loss of pyrimidine synthesis intermediates. We interpret this as a phase of co-occurrence of protective and maladaptive cellular changes. Altogether, this combined metabolomics–transcriptomics analysis informs on responses triggered in neurons by proteasome dysfunction that may be targeted by novel therapeutic intervention in Parkinson’s disease.

  • (2023): Parental provisioning drives brain size in birds Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) ; 120 (2023), 2. - e2121467120. - National Academy of Sciences. - ISSN 0027-8424. - eISSN 1091-6490

    Parental provisioning drives brain size in birds


    Large brains support numerous cognitive adaptations and therefore may appear to be highly beneficial. Nonetheless, the high energetic costs of brain tissue may have prevented the evolution of large brains in many species. This problem may also have a developmental dimension: juveniles, with their immature and therefore poorly performing brains, would face a major energetic hurdle if they were to pay for the construction of their own brain, especially in larger-brained species. Here, we explore the possible role of parental provisioning for the development and evolution of adult brain size in birds. A comparative analysis of 1,176 bird species shows that various measures of parental provisioning (precocial vs. altricial state at hatching, relative egg mass, time spent provisioning the young) strongly predict relative brain size across species. The parental provisioning hypothesis also provides an explanation for the well-documented but so far unexplained pattern that altricial birds have larger brains than precocial ones. We therefore conclude that the evolution of parental provisioning allowed species to overcome the seemingly insurmountable energetic constraint on growing large brains, which in turn enabled bird species to increase survival and population stability. Because including adult eco- and socio-cognitive predictors only marginally improved the explanatory value of our models, these findings also suggest that the traditionally assessed cognitive abilities largely support successful parental provisioning. Our results therefore indicate that the cognitive adaptations underlying successful parental provisioning also provide the behavioral flexibility facilitating reproductive success and survival.

  • (2023): Generating a conformational landscape of ubiquitin chains at atomistic resolution by back-mapping based sampling Frontiers in Chemistry ; 10 (2023). - 1087963. - Frontiers Research Foundation. - eISSN 2296-2646

    Generating a conformational landscape of ubiquitin chains at atomistic resolution by back-mapping based sampling


    Ubiquitin chains are flexible multidomain proteins that have important biological functions in cellular signalling. Computational studies with all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of the conformational spaces of polyubiquitins can be challenging due to the system size and a multitude of long-lived meta-stable states. Coarse graining is an efficient approach to overcome this problem—at the cost of losing high-resolution details. Recently, we proposed the back-mapping based sampling (BMBS) approach that reintroduces atomistic information into a given coarse grained (CG) sampling based on a two-dimensional (2D) projection of the conformational landscape, produces an atomistic ensemble and allows to systematically compare the ensembles at the two levels of resolution. Here, we apply BMBS to K48-linked tri-ubiquitin, showing its applicability to larger systems than those it was originally introduced on and demonstrating that the algorithm scales very well with system size. In an extension of the original BMBS we test three different seeding strategies, i.e. different approaches from where in the CG landscape atomistic trajectories are initiated. Furthermore, we apply a recently introduced conformational clustering algorithm to the back-mapped atomistic ensemble. Thus, we obtain insight into the structural composition of the 2D landscape and illustrate that the dimensionality reduction algorithm separates different conformational characteristics very well into different regions of the map. This cluster analysis allows us to show how atomistic trajectories sample conformational states, move through the projection space and in sum converge to an atomistic conformational landscape that slightly differs from the original CG map, indicating a correction of flaws in the CG template.

  • (2023): The Duty-of-Office Accountability and Democratic Power The Review of Politics ; 85 (2023), 2. - S. 246-249. - Cambridge University Press. - ISSN 0034-6705. - eISSN 1748-6858

    The Duty-of-Office Accountability and Democratic Power


    Ceva and Ferretti provide rich, comprehensive, and thought-provoking answers to the question of what political corruption—understood as corruption that occurs in public institutions—is and when and why it is morally wrong. One aspect that greatly contributes to the book's originality and political relevance is its commitment to a “continuist” conception of (public) institutions (14), according to which institutions are nothing but the interrelated actions of their members—the officeholders entrusted, by virtue of their institutional role, with specific powers that they should always be able to use with a certain level of discretion. This conceptual starting point makes this book a compelling reminder that, even if designing and reforming formal institutions can be done effectively to shape the powers and incentives of institutional actors, we cannot focus only on formal institutional and procedural design to have functioning institutions. As Ceva and Ferretti argue, “no institution can be designed in such a way that makes it immune from political corruption, which may always sneak in per the officeholders’ work” (61)—namely, whenever public officeholders use their entrusted powers in a manner that is incompatible with the terms of their power mandate.

  • (2023): Development and validation of a task battery for verbal and non-verbal first- and second-order theory of mind Frontiers in Language Sciences ; 1 (2023). - 1052095. - Frontiers Research Foundation. - eISSN 2813-4605

    Development and validation of a task battery for verbal and non-verbal first- and second-order theory of mind


    This paper presents a new toolkit for assessing Theory of Mind (ToM) via performance in first and second-order false belief (FB) tasks. The toolkit includes verbal and non-verbal versions of first and second-order FB tasks; the verbal version is currently available in Greek and German. Scenarios in the toolkit are balanced for factors that may influence performance, like the reason for the FB (deception, change-of-location, unexpected content). To validate our toolkit, we tested the performance of neurotypical adults in the non-verbal and verbal versions in two studies: Study 1 with 50 native speakers of German and Study 2 with 50 native speakers of Greek. The data from both studies yield similar results. Participants performed well in all conditions, showing slightly more difficulties in the second- than first-order FB conditions, and in the non-verbal than the verbal version of the task. This suggests that the task is at the high end of the sensitive range for neurotypical adults, and is expected to be well inside the sensitive range for children and populations that have difficulties in ToM. Factors like deception and type of outcome in the video-scenarios did not influence the behavior of neurotypical adults, suggesting that the task does not have any confounds related to these factors. The order of presentation of the verbal and non-verbal version has an influence on performance; participants beginning with the verbal version performed slightly better than participants beginning with the non-verbal version. This suggests that neurotypical adults used language to mediate ToM performance and learn from a language-mediated task when performing a non-verbal ToM task. To conclude, our results show that the scenarios in the toolkit are of comparable difficulty and can be combined freely to match demands in future research with neurotypical children and autistic individuals, as well as other populations that have been shown to have difficulties in ToM. Differences between baseline and critical conditions can be assumed to reflect ToM abilities, rather than language and task-based confounding factors.

  • (2023): The Buffer Function of Wealth in Socioemotional Responses to Covid‐19 in Italy Social Inclusion ; 11 (2023), 1. - S. 148-162. - Cogitatio. - eISSN 2183-2803

    The Buffer Function of Wealth in Socioemotional Responses to Covid‐19 in Italy


    The social stratification of material consequences of individual‐level disruptive events is a widely researched topic. Less is known about the stratification of psychological outcomes in response to contextual‐level disruptive events. We aim to fill this gap by investigating the aftermath of the Covid‐19 pandemic on individuals’ dispositional optimism and the stratification based on unequal wealth resources. The study focuses on Italy, the first European country to be strongly hit by Covid‐19, and one characterised by high levels of private savings and homeownership. Theoretically, we draw on the conventional social inequalities framework informed by insights from the literature on natural disasters, positing that wealth‐related resource disparities may have stratified the socioemotional response to the pandemic. Empirically, we leverage a combination of individual‐level longitudinal survey data (Bank of Italy’s Special Survey of Italian Households) and municipality‐level official statistics on excess mortality (Italian National Institute of Statistics), covering the first 17 months of the Covid‐19 pandemic in Italy. Results indicate overall negative consequences of severe exposure to risks associated with the pandemic on optimism. However, we found evidence in line with a post‐traumatic growth scenario, as optimism slightly increased over the course of the pandemic. The insurance function of wealth emerges in the higher optimism of individuals with more resources. Nevertheless, resource disparities are not translated into stark differences in susceptibility to risk exposure or post‐traumatic growth. Overall, our findings support a limited insurance function of wealth in the socioemotional sphere.

  • (2023): Investigating measurement invariance of the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire-8 (ERQ-8) across 29 countries Current Psychology ; 2023. - Springer. - ISSN 1046-1310. - eISSN 1936-4733

    Investigating measurement invariance of the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire-8 (ERQ-8) across 29 countries


    The widely used Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) measures the habitual use of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. Recently, a more economical 8-item version of the ERQ was proposed that showed good model fit. We assessed whether the latent constructs of the ERQ-8 are generalizable across different countries and cultures. To this end, we used data from the COVIDiSTRESS survey and investigated measurement invariance of the ERQ-8 in a large sample that included 11,288 individuals from 29 countries with diverse cultural backgrounds. Our analyses revealed configural and metric invariance of the ERQ-8 in 14 countries. The results suggest that emotion regulation strategies may not readily converge across all cultures. This underscores the importance of testing measurement invariance before interpreting observed differences and similarities between countries.

  • Rapid Scan Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Is a Suitable Tool to Study Intermolecular Interactions of Intrinsically Disordered Protein


    Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are involved in most crucial cellular processes. However, they lack a well-defined fold hampering the investigation of their structural ensemble and interactions. Suitable biophysical methods able to manage their inherent flexibility and broad conformational ensemble are scarce. Here, we used rapid scan (RS) electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy to study the intermolecular interactions of the IDP α-synuclein (aS). aS aggregation and fibril deposition is the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease, and specific point mutations, among them A30P and A53T, were linked to the early onset of the disease. To understand the pathological processes, research intensively investigates aS aggregation kinetics, which was reported to be accelerated in the presence of ethanol. Conventional techniques fail to capture these fast processes due to their limited time resolution and, thus, lose kinetic information. We have demonstrated that RS EPR spectroscopy is suitable for studying aS aggregation by resolving underlying kinetics and highlighting differences in fibrillization behavior. RS EPR spectroscopy outperforms traditional EPR methods in terms of sensitivity by a factor of 5 in our case while significantly reducing data acquisition time. Thus, we were able to sample short time intervals capturing single events taking place during the aggregation process. Further studies will therefore be able to shed light on biological processes proceeding on fast time scales.

  • Llanque, Marcus; Sarkowsky, Katja (Hrsg.) (2023): Europas Wiedergänger und die postkoloniale Politik der Toten : Thomas Köcks 'antigone. ein requiem' und Magnet Theatres 'Antigone (not quite/quiet)' Die Politik der Toten : Figuren und Funktionen der Toten in Literatur und Politischer Theorie / Llanque, Marcus; Sarkowsky, Katja (Hrsg.). - Bielefeld : transcript, 2023. - S. 189-216. - ISBN 978-3-8376-6440-9

    Europas Wiedergänger und die postkoloniale Politik der Toten : Thomas Köcks 'antigone. ein requiem' und Magnet Theatres 'Antigone (not quite/quiet)'



    dc.contributor.author: Wald, Christina

  • Aktivierung risikorelevanten Institutswissens durch Strafrecht : qualitativ empirische Einblicke am Beispiel des § 54a KWG



    dc.contributor.author: Huff, Michael

  • (2023): Differences in mating system and predicted parental conflict affect post-pollination reproductive isolation in a flowering plant Evolution ; 77 (2023), 4. - S. 1019-1030. - Oxford University Press (OUP). - ISSN 0014-3820. - eISSN 1558-5646

    Differences in mating system and predicted parental conflict affect post-pollination reproductive isolation in a flowering plant


    Mating system shifts from outcrossing to selfing are frequent in plant evolution. Relative to outcrossing, selfing is associated with reduced parental conflict over seed provisioning, which may result in postzygotic, asymmetric, reproductive isolation in crosses between populations of different mating systems. To test the hypothesis that post-pollination reproductive isolation between populations increases with increasing differences in mating system and predicted parental conflict, we performed a crossing experiment involving all combinations of three self-compatible populations (with low outcrossing rates), and three self-incompatible populations (with high outcrossing rates) of the arctic-alpine herb Arabis alpina, assessing fitness-related seed and plant traits of the progeny. Predicted levels of parental conflict (“genome strength”) were quantified based on strength of self-incompatibility and estimates of outcrossing rates. Crosses between self-compatible and self-incompatible populations yielded very small seeds of low viability, resulting in strong reproductive isolation. In 14 of 15 reciprocal between-population crosses, seeds were heavier when the paternal plant had the stronger genome, and seed mass differences between cross directions increased with an increased difference in parental conflict. Overall, our results suggest that, when sufficiently large, differences in mating system and hence in expected parental conflict may result in strong post-pollination reproductive barriers contributing to speciation.

  • Schüler, Julia; Wegner, Mirko; Plessner, Henning; Eklund, Robert C. (Hrsg.) (2023): Motivation and Goals in the Context of Sport and Movement Sport and Exercise Psychology : Theory and Application / Schüler, Julia; Wegner, Mirko; Plessner, Henning; Eklund, Robert C. (Hrsg.). - Cham : Springer, 2023. - S. 145-170. - ISBN 978-3-031-03920-1

    Motivation and Goals in the Context of Sport and Movement


    If you enter the terms “motivation” and “sport” into an online search engine, you will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of entries. The popularity of the concept of motivation and the breadth of its use reflect its importance for issues relating to health, athletic performance, and general life contexts on an individual and a societal level. Light needs to be shed on the question “What motivates people to engage in sport?” and the question needs to be considered from many different perspectives. In lay language, many different synonyms are used for motivation like incentive, initiative, interest, passion, ambition, and driving force. How much of this layman’s understanding is reflected in the scientific operationalizations of “motivation?” The synonyms presented above share one important aspect in common with the scientific concept of motivation: the activating or energizing component. Motivation is the driving force behind an action.

  • Medien und Perversion : Norm(alis)ierungstendenzen bei marginalisierten Sexualpräferenzen am Beispiel BDSM


    Vorliegende Dissertation verbindet medien- und sexualwissenschaftliche sowie soziologische Perspektiven. Ausgehend von der Romantrilogie Fifty Shades of Grey werden mediatisierte Normalisierungsprozesse hinsichtlich Sexualität – insbesondere hinsichtlich der Sexualpräferenz BDSM – analysiert. Zunächst wird untersucht, ob Normalisierungstendenzen bei der Sexualpräferenz BDSM festzustellen sind. Danach wird ergründet, ob und wie Fifty Shades of Grey und die massenmediale Diskursivierung rund um Fifty Shades of Grey Einfluss auf die Einstellungen der Menschen bezüglich BDSM genommen hat. Die empirische Untersuchung besteht aus qualitativen Leitfadeninterviews. Methodologisch orientiert sich die Arbeit an der Grounded Theory. Die Ergebnisse der empirischen Analyse führen zu Erkenntnissen über die angenommen besonders mediatisierte Welt der Sexualität und über Zusammenhänge zwischen Medien, Mediatisierung und Normalisierungstendenzen rund um Sexualität.

  • Gebert, Bent (Hrsg.) (2023): Kreativität und Zerstörung : Wettkämpfe in Literaturen und Kulturen des Mittelalters – Zur Einführung Wettkämpfe in Literaturen und Kulturen des Mittelalters : Riskante Formen und Praktiken zwischen Kreativität und Zerstörung / Gebert, Bent (Hrsg.). - Berlin : De Gruyter, 2023. - (Trends in Medieval Philology ; 43). - S. 1-17. - ISBN 9783110774603

    Kreativität und Zerstörung : Wettkämpfe in Literaturen und Kulturen des Mittelalters – Zur Einführung



    dc.contributor.author: Gebert, Bent

  • Schüler, Julia; Wegner, Mirko; Plessner, Henning; Eklund, Robert C. (Hrsg.) (2023): Sport and Exercise Psychology : Theory and Application

    Sport and Exercise Psychology : Theory and Application



    dc.contributor.editor: Schüler, Julia; Wegner, Mirko; Plessner, Henning; Eklund, Robert C.

  • The Dual Artist Novel : Subverting Genre and Gender



    dc.contributor.author: Flock, Orla Siobhán

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