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Folic acid deficiency has multigenerational effects PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 September 2013 16:50

Dr. Roy Gravel and Dr. Jay Cross are authors of research published in the journal Cell. "We could not have accomplished this work without key collaborations both here in Calgary and Cambridge," says Dr. Cross.
University of Calgary researchers discover folic acid deficiency in animals can have severe health consequences in grandchildren and great-grandchildren

Researchers from the universities of Calgary and Cambridge, UK, have discovered that a mutation in a gene necessary for the metabolism of folic acid not only impacts immediate offspring but can also have detrimental health effects, such as spina bifida and heart abnormalities, on subsequent generations. The animal study, published this week in the journal Cell, also sheds light on the molecular mechanism of folic acid (also known as folate) during development.

Salk researchers develop new model to study schizophrenia and other neurological conditions PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 August 2013 06:06

From Left to Right are: Gene Stoner, Raynard Fung, Ricardo Gil Da Costa and Tom Albright. Click here for more information.

Model should have widespread application for pharmaceutical research.

LA JOLLA, CA ---- Schizophrenia is one of the most devastating neurological conditions, with only 30 percent of sufferers ever experiencing full recovery. While current medications can control most psychotic symptoms, their side effects can leave individuals so severely impaired that the disease ranks among the top ten causes of disability in developed countries.

Bacterial blockade PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 27 July 2013 16:03

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerFor decades, doctors have understood that microbes in the human gut can influence how certain drugs work in the body — by either activating or inactivating specific compounds — but questions have remained about exactly how the process works.

Harvard scientists are now beginning to provide those answers.

New Research Sheds Light on M.O. of Unusual RNA Molecules PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 July 2013 16:48

The Xist lncRNA (red) recruits proteins responsible for modifying chromatin architecture (green) across the X-chromosome. Xist and its associated proteins coat the entire X-chromosome, forming a distinctive compartment in the nucleus (blue). Credit: Amy Pandya-Jones and Kathrin PlathThe genes that code for proteins—more than 20,000 in total—make up only about 1 percent of the complete human genome. That entire thing—not just the genes, but also genetic junk and all the rest—is coiled and folded up in any number of ways within the nucleus of each of our cells. Think, then, of the challenge that a protein or other molecule, like RNA, faces when searching through that material to locate a target gene.

New understanding of tiny RNA molecules could have far-ranging medical applications PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 June 2013 15:18

Caption: The Scripps Research Institute team included: Changchun Xiao, John Teijaro, Hsien Liu, and Seung Goo Kang (left to right). Photo courtesy of The Scripps Research Institute.LA JOLLA, CA – June 30, 2013 – A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has identified a family of tiny RNA molecules that work as powerful regulators of the immune response in mammals. Mice who lack these RNA molecules lose their normal infection-fighting ability, whereas mice that overproduce them develop a fatal autoimmune syndrome.

Genome decoding of the medieval leprosy pathogen PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 14:42

The comparison of 1,0Professor Jesper Boldsen, University of Southern Denmark (left), explains the bone changes of the female patient with leprosy from St. Jørgensen to Professor Almut Nebel and Dr. Ben Krause-Kyora, both of Kiel University. Credit: Photo: Ben Krause-Kyora, Copyright: Kiel University00-year-old and modern bacterial genomes provides insights into the disease history.

From skeletons and biopsies, an international team of scientists was successful in reconstructing a dozen medieval and modern genomes of the leprosy-causing bacteria Mycobacterium leprae. Under the direction of Professor Johannes Krause, University of Tübingen, and Professor Stewart Cole, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL), the research group created a genome from archaeological finds for the first time without having to resort to a reference sequence. Professor Almut Nebel and Dr. Ben Krause-Kyora, both of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Kiel University, belong to the team, whose findings are to be published this week in Sciencemagazine.

Muscle Repair After Injury Helped by Fat-Forming Cells PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 April 2013 05:53

Ajay Chawla, MDUC San Francisco Study Examines Role of Immune Cell in Triggering Muscle Regrowth.

UC San Francisco scientists have discovered that muscle repair requires the action of two types of cells better known for causing inflammation and forming fat. 

The finding in mice, published in the April 11 issue of Cell, showed that a well-known immune cell called the eosinophil  [ee-oh-SIN-oh-fil] carries out the beneficial role in two ways – by clearing out cellular debris from damaged tissue and teaming up with a type of cell that can make fat to instead trigger muscle regrowth. 

Researchers reveal new enzyme that acts as innate immunity sensor PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 17 February 2013 12:03

DNA Defense Dr. James ChenDALLAS – Feb. 15, 2013 – Two studies by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center could lead to new treatments for lupus and other autoimmune diseases and strengthen current therapies for viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections.

The studies identify a new enzyme that acts as a sensor of innate immunity – the body’s first line of defense against invaders – and describe a novel cell signaling pathway. This pathway detects foreign DNA or even host DNA when it appears in a part of the cell where DNA should not be. In addition, the investigations show that the process enlists a naturally occurring compound in a class known to exist in bacteria but never before seen in humans or other multicellular organisms, said Dr. Zhijian “James” Chen.

Cell: Protein folding via charge zippers PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 January 2013 16:39

Like the teeth of a zipper, the charged amino acids (red, blue) form connections between protein segments. In this way, they can form pores in the cell membrane.Membrane proteins are the "molecular machines" in biological cell envelopes. They control diverse processes, such as the transport of molecules across the lipid membrane, signal transduction, and photosynthesis. Their shape, i.e. folding of the molecules, plays a decisive role in the formation of, e.g., pores in the cell membrane. In the Cellmagazine, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Cagliari are now reporting a novel charge zipper principle used by proteins to form functional units (DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.12.017).

New findings in the search for genetic clues to insulin production PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 18:12

This is Karen Mohlke, Ph.D., one of the study’s senior authors and associate professor of genetics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Credit: National Human Genome Research Institute(Embargoed) CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – In research published online Dec. 23, 2012 in the journal Nature Genetics, scientists have found three new and relatively rare genetic variants that influence insulin production, offering new clues about the genetic factors behind diabetes..

New survey of DNA alterations could aid search for cancer genes PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 September 2013 16:10


BOSTON—Scanning the DNA of nearly 5,000 tumor samples, a team led by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute has identified 140 regions of scrambled genetic code believed to contain many undiscovered cancer genes.

The researchers said the mapping of the abnormal regions gives cancer scientists a starting point from which to search for as-yet undiscovered oncogenes and broken tumor-suppressor genes, which allow cells to divide and grow uncontrollably. Published in the October issue of Nature Genetics, the results are part of an ongoing international research effort to define the landscape of DNA mutations and other genetic changes that fuel the development of cancer.

Distinct brain disorders biologically linked PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 04 August 2013 22:20
The frequency of neurodevelopmental disorders in Finland varies by region. This variation corresponds to the migration history of the Finnish population, as exemplified by schizophrenia prevalenceand by the percentage of the population with a disability pension resulting from intellectual disability. [DOI:10.1038/nn.3484]

Disruption to the gene TOP3B increases susceptibility to schizophrenia and a learning disorder

A team of researchers have shown that schizophrenia and a disorder associated with autism and learning difficulties share a common biological pathway. This is one of the first times that researchers have uncovered genetic evidence for the underlying causes of schizophrenia.

Researchers Uncover Cellular Mechanisms for Attention in the Brain PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 27 July 2013 14:51

Farran Briggs, PhDHanover, N.H.—The ability to pay attention to relevant information while ignoring distractions is a core brain function. Without the ability to focus and filter out "noise," we could not effectively interact with our environment. Despite much study of attention in the brain, the cellular mechanisms responsible for the effects of attention have remained a mystery... until now.

Mine seed banks to feed tomorrow’s world PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 July 2013 16:40

Susan McCouch, professor of plant breeding and genetics and of plant biology, is a world expert on rice breeding and genetics. Robert Barker/University PhotographyWith fewer than a dozen flowering plants accounting for 80 percent of humanity’s caloric intake out of 300,000 species, people need to tap unused plants to feed the world in the near future, claims Cornell plant geneticist Susan McCouch in the Comment feature of the July 4 issue of Nature.

New findings regarding DNA damage checkpoint mechanism in oxidative stress PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 14:52

In current health lore, antioxidants are all the rage, as "everybody knows" that reducing the amount of "reactive oxygen species" -- cell-damaging molecules that are byproducts of cellular metabolism -- is critical to staying healthy. What everyone doesn't know is that our bodies already have a complex set of processes built into our cells that handle these harmful byproducts of living and repair the damage they cause.

How the brain folds to fit PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 28 April 2013 21:17

maus_260During fetal development of the mammalian brain, the cerebral cortex undergoes a marked expansion in surface area in some species, which is accommodated by folding of the tissue in species with most expanded neuron numbers and surface area. Researchers have now identified a key regulator of this crucial process.

Researcher offers clues on the origins of life PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 April 2013 16:44
  Michael Blaber of the Florida State University College of Medicine.A structural biologist at the Florida State University College of Medicine has made discoveries that could lead scientists a step closer to understanding how life first emerged on Earth billions of years ago.

Professor Michael Blaber and his team produced data supporting the idea that 10 amino acids believed to exist on Earth around 4 billion years ago were capable of forming foldable proteins in a high-salt (halophile) environment. Such proteins would have been capable of providing metabolic activity for the first living organisms to emerge on the planet between 3.5 and 3.9 billion years ago.

The cell that isn’t PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 January 2013 17:01

New technique captures division of membrane-less cells


Image and video credit: Ivo Telley - EMBL
Click image to play.

Chinese medicine yields secrets to scientists at The Scripps Research Institute PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 18:21

 Scripps Research Institute scientists have determined a molecular structure that helps explain how the Chinese herbal medicine Chang Shan works. Credit: Image courtesy of the Schimmel lab.Atomic mechanism of 2-headed molecule derived from Chang Shan, a traditional Chinese herb, is shown in unprecedented detail.

LA JOLLA, CA – December 23, 2012 – The mysterious inner workings of Chang Shan—a Chinese herbal medicine used for thousands of years to treat fevers associated with malaria—have been uncovered thanks to a high-resolution structure solved at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).

Researchers develop light-based 'remote control' for proteins inside cells PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 November 2012 01:25

Michael LinScientists at Stanford University have developed an intracellular remote control: a simple way to activate and track proteins, the busiest of cellular machines, using beams of light.

The new method, described in a paper published Nov. 9 in Science, will let researchers shine light on a specific cell region to quickly activate a protein in that area, producing an unusually fine-grained view of the location and timing of protein activity. In addition, the method may eventually enable physicians to direct the movement and activity of stem cells used to treat injury or illness in light-accessible body parts, such as the eye or skin. Stanford has filed a patent application for the work.

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