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Novel genomic tools provide new insight into human immune system

Fri, 19 Jan 18 00:05:50 -0800

La Jolla Institute researchers provide new insights into how so-called CD4 cytotoxic T cells arise in humans and thus could facilitate improved vaccine design to protect against chronic viral infections such as cytomegalovirus, HIV, and hepatitis C.



Cells lacking nuclei struggle to move in 3-D environments

Fri, 19 Jan 18 00:06:40 -0800

A study led by UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers and published in the Journal of Cell Biology examined the role of the physical structure of the nucleus in cell movement through different surfaces.



Hunter-gatherers have a special way with smells

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:03:30 -0800

When it comes to naming colors, most people do so with ease. But, for odors, it's much harder to find the words. One notable exception to this rule is found among the Jahai people, hunter-gatherers living in the Malay Peninsula. For them, odors are just as easy to name as colors. Now a new study reported in Current Biology suggests that the Jahai's special way with smell is related to their hunting and gathering lifestyle.



First look at pupil size in sleeping mice yields surprises

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:03:20 -0800

When people are awake, their pupils regularly change in size. Those changes are meaningful, reflecting shifting attention or vigilance, for example. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on Jan. 18 have found in studies of mice that pupil size also fluctuates during sleep. They also show that pupil size is a reliable indicator of sleep states.



New method to stop cells dividing could help fight cancer

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:03:10 -0800

Researchers at Uppsala University, Karolinska Institutet, and the University of Oxford, have used a new strategy to shut down specific enzymes to stop cells from dividing. The method, published in Cell Chemical Biology, can be used as a strategy to fight cancer.



USC stem cell scientists chew on the mysteries of jaw development

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:03:00 -0800

Scientists in the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Gage Crump have revealed how key genes guide the development of the jaw in zebrafish. These findings may offer clues for understanding craniofacial anomalies in human patients, who sometimes carry a mutation in equivalent genes.



How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:02:20 -0800

Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center researchers.



Counting chromosomes: Plant scientists solve a century-old mystery about reproduction

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:06:40 -0800

Geneticists have solved a century-old mystery by discovering a remarkable mechanism that enables plants to count their chromosomes. Their ability to detect imbalances in male and female contributions to the next generation determines their progeny's viability and fertility.



DNA study casts light on century-old mystery of how cells divide

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:08:00 -0800

Scientists have solved a longstanding puzzle of how cells are able to tightly package lengthy strands of DNA when they divide -- an essential process for growth, repair and maintenance in living organisms.



Researchers create first stem cells using CRISPR genome activation

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:11:20 -0800

In a scientific first, researchers at the Gladstone Institutes turned skin cells from mice into stem cells by activating a specific gene in the cells using CRISPR technology. The innovative approach offers a potentially simpler technique to produce the valuable cell type and provides important insights into the cellular reprogramming process.



Lobachevsky University scientists are studying nervous system adaptation to ischemic damage

Wed, 17 Jan 18 00:11:40 -0800

Lobachevsky University researchers are working to explore the mechanisms of adaptation of the nervous system to ischemic damage. Scientists say that under certain conditions, the brain's protective forces can be activated, even in some severe cases. According to Maria Vedunova, Director of the Institute of Biology and Biomedicine at Lobachevsky University, a large number of stressors affect the body by depleting its internal reserves and, as a consequence, leading to a number of diseases.



Dulling cancer therapy's double-edged sword

Wed, 17 Jan 18 00:08:50 -0800

Researchers have discovered a very promising new pathway to preventing tumor recurrence -- 'resolvins' could be used in complement with chemotherapy, radiation and targeted therapies to stave off the tumor-promoting effects of dead cancer cell debris.



Math can predict how cancer cells evolve

Tue, 16 Jan 18 00:02:10 -0800

Applied mathematics can be a powerful tool in helping predict the genesis and evolution of different types of cancers, a study from the University of Waterloo has found.



Genome architecture's surprising role in cell fate decisions

Tue, 16 Jan 18 00:07:10 -0800

New study led by researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, shows unexpected and crucial role of genome architecture in determining cell fate. The work represents an important advance in our understanding of gene regulation and reveals a new layer of complexity that needs to be studied to properly interpret genomics and gene expression in the future. An example of how risky fundamental science with innovative approaches leads to surprising and important advances in knowledge.



Key player in cell metabolism identified

Tue, 16 Jan 18 00:09:10 -0800

Published in Nature Cell Biology (NCB), the study shows that the EXD2 protein is critical for the mitochondria, the cell's powerhouses, to produce energy. This protein was previously thought to be located in the cell nucleus and to be involved in DNA repair. The results contribute to our basic understanding of mitochondria and suggest that EXD2 could be important for fertility and represent a potential target for cancer therapy.



Cryo-electron microscopy reveals shape of heterochromatin

Tue, 16 Jan 18 00:12:10 -0800

Scientists from Waseda University, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology and the National Institute for Basic Biology became the first to successfully visualize the structure of heterochromatin, thanks to high-contrast imaging in cryo-electron microscopy. Their study demonstrates Japan's international competitiveness in structural biology research using this technique.



How incurable mitochondrial diseases strike previously unaffected families

Mon, 15 Jan 18 00:14:20 -0800

Researchers have shown for the first time how children can inherit a severe -- potentially fatal -- mitochondrial disease from a healthy mother. The study, led by researchers from the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit at the University of Cambridge, reveals that healthy people harbor mutations in their mitochondrial DNA and explains how cases of severe mitochondrial disease can appear unexpectedly in previously unaffected families.



Cellular seismology: Putting vibrations on the map

Mon, 15 Jan 18 00:11:20 -0800

Using a unique technology called 'cell quake elastography,' scientists can now map to the millisecond the elasticity of components vibrating inside a cell. This discovery published in PNAS this week by Guy Cloutier and his team from CRCHUM, Université de Montréal and INSERM, opens up a whole new field of research in mechanobiology, opening the door to many practical applications in medicine.



Danish researchers reveal how the MRSA bacterium handles stress

Mon, 15 Jan 18 00:10:40 -0800

An international team of researchers has revealed a fundamental mechanism responsible for handling stress in staphylococci when they are exposed to antibiotics. It is expected that the research results eventually can be used to develop new antibiotics that circumvent such stress mechanisms.



The negative impact of climate change on freshwater bodies

Fri, 12 Jan 18 00:08:00 -0800

A lot of research is being conducted into the acidification of the world's oceans. A recent study has proved that freshwater bodies are likewise affected. Rising carbon dioxide levels could upset the balance of species.



Cell biology: Positioning the cleavage furrow

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:03:00 -0800

Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have identified a signaling pathway that restricts cleavage furrow formation to the mid-plane of the cell.



Researchers map out genetic 'switches' behind human brain evolution

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:07:50 -0800

UCLA researchers have developed the first map of gene regulation in human neurogenesis, the process by which neural stem cells turn into brain cells and the cerebral cortex expands in size. The scientists identified factors that govern the growth of our brains and, in some cases, set the stage for several brain disorders that appear later in life.



Rising CO2 is causing trouble in freshwaters too, study suggests

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:11:30 -0800

As carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere rise, more CO2 gets absorbed into seawater. As a result, the world's oceans have grown more acidic over time, causing a wide range of well-documented problems for marine animals and ecosystems. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on Jan. 11 present some of the first evidence that similar things are happening in freshwaters too.



The circadian clock sets the pace of plant growth

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:10:30 -0800

Researchers at the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) discover that the members of a protein family from the plant internal clock act sequentially to limit the plant growth until the end of the night. This knowledge could help to understand how plants face different kinds of stress that affect their growth, such as drought or high temperature.



Solving Darwin's 'abominable mystery': How flowering plants conquered the world

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:16:20 -0800

In a study publishing on Jan. 11 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, researchers found that flowering plants have small cells relative to other major plant groups, made possible by a greatly reduced genome size, and this may explain how they became dominant so rapidly in ecosystems across the world.



Researchers demonstrate RAS dimers are essential for cancer

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:13:40 -0800

Researchers at UT Southwestern's Simmons Cancer Center have shown that RAS molecules act in pairs, known as dimers, to cause cancer, findings that could help guide them to a treatment.



Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0800

Dengue virus slowly takes over the endoplasmic reticulum, the production site for a subset of host proteins, and steers clear of the cytosol, the fluid-filled space where the majority of host cellular proteins are synthesized. Its viral RNA template is translated into protein in such an inefficient, lackadaisical manner that it doesn't trip alarms.



The origin of flower making genes

Wed, 10 Jan 18 00:02:10 -0800

A research team led by Professor Mitsuyasu Hasebe of the National Institute for Basic Biology revealed that the MADS-box genes control sperm motility and cell division and elongation of the stem of gametophores, using the moss Physcomitrella patens.



Frogs reveal mechanism that determines viability of hybrids

Wed, 10 Jan 18 00:10:10 -0800

Why are some hybrids viable and others not? It is known that this depends on the father species and the mother species. New research in two related frog species shows the influence of mother and father species: one hybrid is viable, the other hybrid dies in early stages of development. Scientists from Radboud University, together with colleagues from the United States and Japan, publish their findings on 10 January in Nature.



A simple cell holds 42 million protein molecules, scientists reveal

Wed, 10 Jan 18 00:15:40 -0800

Toronto scientists have finally put their finger on how many protein molecules there are in a cell, ending decades of guesswork and clearing the way for further research on how protein abundance affects health of an organism.



Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

Wed, 10 Jan 18 00:15:20 -0800

Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery from heart attack injury. The results are a step closer to the goal of treating human heart attacks by suturing cardiac-muscle patches over an area of dead heart muscle in order to reduce the pathology that often leads to heart failure.



Malaria parasite packs genetic material for trip from mosquitoes to humans

Wed, 10 Jan 18 00:00:10 -0800

The parasite that causes malaria has not one, but two, specialized proteins that protect its genetic material until the parasite takes up residence in a new host.



New stem cell method sheds light on a tell-tale sign of heart disease

Tue, 09 Jan 18 00:06:30 -0800

While refining ways to grow arterial endothelial cells in the lab, a regenerative biology team at the Morgridge Institute for Research unexpectedly unearthed a powerful new model for studying a hallmark of vascular disease.



Targeting breast cancer through precision medicine

Tue, 09 Jan 18 00:05:20 -0800

University of Alberta researchers have discovered a mechanism that may make cancer cells more susceptible to treatment. The research team found that the protein RYBP prevents DNA repair in cancer cells, including breast cancer.



UC researchers find protein that mediates formation of HER2-driven breast cancer

Tue, 09 Jan 18 00:09:10 -0800

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine have identified for the first time that the estrogen receptor-binding protein MED1 is a critical mediator of HER2-driven breast cancer, identifying it as a potential therapeutic target.



Survival strategy of messenger RNAs during cellular sugar shortage

Mon, 08 Jan 18 00:01:10 -0800

If a cell runs low on sugar, it stores certain messenger RNAs in order to prolong its life. As a research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has now discovered, the protein Puf5p determines whether individual messenger RNAs will be stored or degraded when sugar levels are low. The study published in eLife shows that Puf5p therefore sends the messenger RNAs to a cell organelle where their fate is sealed.



DNA evidence is putting rhino poachers behind bars, study shows

Mon, 08 Jan 18 00:08:00 -0800

In murder investigations, DNA evidence often helps to link a perpetrator to a crime scene and put him or her behind bars. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on Jan. 8 show that DNA evidence is also successfully being used to link rhinoceros horns seized from poachers and traffickers in various countries directly to the specific crime scenes where rhinoceros carcasses were left behind.



Amazon biodiversity hotspot to suffer even more losses after contentious law passed

Mon, 08 Jan 18 00:07:50 -0800

In August 2017, the Bolivian government passed a contentious law that paved the way for construction of a new 190-mile road cutting through one of the country's most iconic and biodiverse protected rainforests. But a report in Current Biology on Jan. 8 shows that the Isiboro-Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (or TIPNIS) has been subject to alarming levels of deforestation within its borders for many years, a reality that is too often overlooked.



Researchers discover that a 'muscle' cancer is not really a muscle cancer

Mon, 08 Jan 18 00:07:30 -0800

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital oncologists have discovered the cell type that gives rise to rhabdomyosarcoma, the most prevalent soft tissue cancer in children. Previously, scientists thought the cancer arose from immature muscle cells, because the tumor resembled muscle under the microscope. However, the St. Jude researchers discovered the cancer arises from immature progenitors that would normally develop into cells lining blood vessels.



Penn study on super-silenced DNA hints at new ways to reprogram cells

Fri, 05 Jan 18 00:13:50 -0800

Newly described stretches of super-silenced DNA reveal a fresh approach to reprogram cell identity to use in regenerative medicine studies and one day in the clinic.



University of Montana publishes research on unusual gene evolution in bacteria

Fri, 05 Jan 18 00:13:40 -0800

University of Montana researchers have made another discovery at the cellular level to help understand the basic processes of all life on our planet -- this time within the unusual bacteria that has lived inside cicada insects since dinosaurs roamed Earth.



Researchers create novel compound targeting melanoma cells

Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:10:50 -0800

An international team of researchers has developed a novel compound that successfully inhibits growth of melanoma cells by targeting specific epigenetic modifying proteins in these cells.



Researchers detect a loophole in chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment

Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:11:10 -0800

A team of researchers in Italy and Austria has determined that a drug approved to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) may be less effective in a particular subset of patients. The study, which will be published Jan. 4 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, reveals that ibrutinib has a diminished capacity to delocalize and kill tumor cells expressing an adhesive protein called CD49d, but combining ibrutinib treatment with drugs that block CD49d activation could prevent the tumor cells from sheltering in lymphoid organs.



New brainstem changes identified in Parkinson's disease

Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:14:30 -0800

A pioneering study has found that patients with Parkinson's disease have more errors in the mitochondrial DNA within the brainstem, leading to increased cell death in that area.



Bright and stable: New acid-tolerant green fluorescent protein for bioimaging

Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:14:00 -0800

Fluorescent proteins (FPs) are powerful tools for visualization of molecular and cellular processes; however, most FPs lose fluorescence at a pH lower than their neutral pKa (~6). A team of Osaka University researchers developed the acid-tolerant green FP -- termed Gamillus -- cloned from flower hat jellyfish. Gamillus exhibits excellent brightness, maturation speed, and photostablity, even in low pH environments, making it a feasible molecular tag for imaging in acidic organelles.



New cancer model shows genomic link between early-stage and invasive breast cancer types

Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:00:40 -0800

A new genetic-based model may explain how a common form of early-stage breast cancer known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) progresses to a more invasive form of cancer say researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.



Unlike people, bonobos don't 'look for the helpers'

Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:00:30 -0800

By the age of three months, human babies can already follow Mr. Rogers' advice to 'look for the helpers.' In fact, human infants naturally show a strong preference for individuals who help rather than hinder others. Now, a study reported in Current Biology finds that the same cannot be said of bonobos. While bonobos are similarly adept in discriminating helpers from hinderers, they show the opposite bias, consistently favoring hinderers over helpers.



Accessing your own genomic data is a civil right but requires strategies to manage safety

Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:00:10 -0800

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 expanded individuals' access to genetic information by forcing changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule. These amendments gave Americans a civil right to obtain copies of their own genetic test results stored at HIPAA-regulated laboratories. In a commentary published Jan. 4 in the American Journal of Human Genetics, Barbara J. Evans, describes how civil rights and safety concerns collided after these changes and offers strategies to reconcile the two.



X chromosome reactivation could treat Rett syndrome, other X-linked disorders

Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:16:10 -0800

A study from a team of Massachusetts General Hospital investigators points toward a potential strategy for treating X-linked disorders -- those caused by mutations in the X chromosome -- in females.



UTMB develops promising anti-obesity drug that shrinks fat without suppressing appetite

Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:01:50 -0800

Given the ever-increasing obesity epidemic, researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered a promising developing drug that has been shown to selectively shrink excess fat by increasing fat cell metabolism. The drug significantly reduces body weight and blood cholesterol levels without lowering food intake in obese mice, according to a recent study published in Biochemical Pharmacology.