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Updated: 1 year 3 weeks ago

The neurons in our gut help the immune system keep inflammation in check

Sat, 23/01/2016 - 09:39

The immune system exercises constant vigilance to protect the body from external threats--including what we eat and drink. A careful balancing act plays out as digested food travels through the intestine. Immune cells must remain alert to protect against harmful pathogens like Salmonella, but their activity also needs to be tempered since an overreaction can lead to too much inflammation and permanent tissue damage.

60 genetic disorders affect skin and nervous system

Sat, 23/01/2016 - 09:39

One of the most common genetic disorders is a condition called neurofibromatosis, which causes brown spots on the skin and benign tumors on the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system.

Two proteins control the growth of the heart and its adaptation to high blood pressure

Sat, 23/01/2016 - 09:39


A histological section of a heart. Researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) have identified how two proteins control the growth of the heart and its adaptation to high blood pressure (hypertension). Lead investigator Dr. Guadalupe Sabio explains that the results, described in Nature Communications, not only increase our understanding of the mechanisms used by cardiac cells to grow and adapt, but could also help in the design of new strategies to treat heart failure caused by excessive growth of the heart. The study, carried out by Dr. Sabio and CNIC investigator Bárbara Gonzalez-Terán, shows for the first time that two proteins, p38 gamma and p38 delta, control heart growth.

Beetle-inspired discovery could reduce frost's costly sting

Sat, 23/01/2016 - 09:39

In a discovery that may lead to ways to prevent frost on airplane parts, condenser coils, and even windshields, a team of researchers led by Virginia Tech has used chemical micropatterns to control the growth of frost caused by condensation.

KLF and Sp Transcription Factors in Disease and Regenerative Medicine

Sat, 23/01/2016 - 09:39

This meeting will focus on the genetics, biochemistry, and biology of Krüppel-like factors (KLFs) as well as their structurally and functionally related, Specificity Proteins (Sps) along with their impact on human diseases. Significant efforts will be given to discussing the application of KLF/SP-based tools to gene editing and cell-based therapies for regenerative medicine (iPS cells). KLFs/SP proteins constitute a single family of zinc finger-containing transcription factors that exhibit homology to the Drosophila gap gene product, Krüppel. There are at least 18 KLFs and 9 Sp proteins, with a multitude of important functions including regulation of proliferation, differentiation, inflammation/immunity, metabolism, and carcinogenesis. Dysregulation of KLF/SP-mediated pathways contributes to pathological states such as obesity, cancer, and inflammatory conditions. Recent studies indicate that many of these transcription factors have the ability to reprogram somatic cells to inducible pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, and to maintain the pluripotent state of embryonic stem cells; interestingly, several members can substitute for one another in establishing and/or maintaining pluripotency. This transformational discovery has elicited the attention of investigators and medical practitioners from the field of Regenerative Medicine. Molecular insights derived from zinc finger-DNA interactions, which have been derived and most thoroughly validated from work on Sp/KLF proteins has given rise to a new area of research that is growing exponentially, namely gene-editing by artificial KLF-like zinc finger proteins that allow for in vivo gene mutation, mutation repair, deletions, insertion and other type of engineering for both research and medical practice. Thus, the scope and the impact of our 2016 meeting, we will have investigators that discuss the use of Zinc finger nucleases, TALENS, and CAS/CRISPR systems. Lastly, many additional and novel roles for various Sp/KLFs in normal and disease states are only now being fully studied and explored. We expect that through the interaction fostered in this meeting will fuel subsequent collaborations, lead to the design of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for broad array diseases. This is truly and international meeting which counts with a confirmed list of speakers from USA, Canada, Europe, and Asia. A large number of oral presentations will be selected from the abstracts, and the selected talks, poster presentations, and recreational activities will provide students and postdoctoral fellows opportunities to exchange ideas and formulate new collaborations.

Genome engineering: Cutting-edge research and applications

Sat, 23/01/2016 - 09:39

Bethesda, MD - Genome engineering is a rapidly growing discipline that seeks to develop new technologies for the precise manipulation of genes and genomes in cellula and in vivo. In addition to its utility for advancing our understanding of basic biology, genome engineering has numerous real-world applications, ranging from correction of disease-causing mutations in humans to engineering plants that better provide fuel, food and industrial raw materials. The first clinical trials and patient treatments using genome engineering approaches are now a reality. The scope of this meeting is expansive, encompassing multiple approaches for modifying genomes - from transgenesis and gene targeting to the creation of synthetic genomes. The experimental models featured include bacteria, fungi, model organisms (e.g.-- Drosophila, C. elegans, zebrafish, mice, rats), plants, humans, and animals including livestock. We anticipate that this diversity of approaches and experimental systems will create a stimulating meeting environment that will enable new insights and advance the field.

How mold on space station flowers is helping get us to Mars

Tue, 19/01/2016 - 21:57


Mold growth initially grew on the plant in pillow E in the bottom left corner of the plant mat. When Scott Kelly tweeted a picture of moldy leaves on the current crop of zinnia flowers aboard the International Space Station, it could have looked like the science was doomed. In fact, science was blooming stronger than ever. What may seem like a failure in systems is actually an exceptional opportunity for scientists back on Earth to better understand how plants grow in microgravity, and for astronauts to practice doing what they'll be tasked with on a deep space mission: autonomous gardening.

Scientists propose an algorithm to study DNA faster and more accurately

Tue, 19/01/2016 - 21:57

A team of scientists from Germany, USA, and Russia, including Dr. Mark Borodovsky, a Chair of the Department of Bioinformatics at MIPT, have proposed an algorithm to automate the process of searching for genes, making it more efficient. The new development combines the advantages of the most advanced tools for working with genomic data. The new method will enable scientists to analyse DNA sequences faster and more accurately and identify the full set of genes in a genome.

Study finds 30 percent of global fish catch is unreported

Tue, 19/01/2016 - 21:57


Thirty percent of global fish catch may be unreported, according to new research. Countries drastically underreport the number of fish caught worldwide, according to a new study, and the numbers obscure a significant decline in the total catch .

Laws of nature predict cancer evolution

Tue, 19/01/2016 - 00:33

Cancers evolve over time in patterns governed by the same natural laws that drive physical and chemical processes as diverse as the flow of rivers or the brightness of stars, a new study reports.

TSRI scientists solve 3-D structure of protein that guides the immune system

Tue, 19/01/2016 - 00:33


A new study from The Scripps Research Institute and Duke University Medical Center reveals the three-dimensional structure of a crucial ion channel Many cells have microscopic gates, called ion channels, which open to allow the flow of ions across the cell membrane. Thanks to these gates, cells can detect stimuli such as heat, pain, pressure and even spicy food.

Zika virus has potential to spread rapidly through Americas

Sat, 16/01/2016 - 00:26

The Zika virus, possibly linked to serious birth defects in Brazil, has the potential to spread within the Americas, including parts of the United States, according to an international team of researchers who track the spread of infectious diseases.

Genetic 'paint box' shuffled between butterfly species to create new wing patterns

Sat, 16/01/2016 - 00:26


This image shows a range of wing pattern combinations in various Heliconius butterfly species. Clockwise from top left: elevatus; contigua; rosina; meriana; malleti. New research on butterfly genomes has revealed that the genetic components that produce different splotches of colour on wings can be mixed up between species by interbreeding to create new patterns, like a "genetic paint-box".

Sociable chimps harbor richer gut microbiomes

Sat, 16/01/2016 - 00:26


Two chimpanzees interact in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Spending time in close contact with others often means risking catching germs and getting sick. But being sociable may also help transmit beneficial microbes, finds a multi-institutional study of gut microbiomes in chimpanzees.

UGA researchers discover how trypanosome parasites communicate with each other

Sat, 16/01/2016 - 00:26

While scientists have known for years that African trypanosomes cause sleeping sickness, they've been left scratching their heads as to how these tiny single-celled organisms communicate. A University of Georgia study, published Jan. 14 in the journal Cell, helps solve this mystery.

Brothers-in-arms: How P53 and telomeres work together to stave off cancer

Sat, 16/01/2016 - 00:26

When it comes to genes associated with cancer, none have been studied more extensively than p53, a tumor suppressor gene that serves as the guardian of our genetic information. More than half of all cancers have mutations of p53, meaning that this particular gene must often be suppressed in order for a cancer to grow and spread.

Shiny fish skin inspires nanoscale light reflectors

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 01:35


A transmission electron microscope image of ribbonfish skin shows random arrangements of crystalline quinine embedded in cytoplasm (a). The arrangement of crystal layers reflects light across a broad spectrum. A nature-inspired method to model the reflection of light from the skin of silvery fish and other organisms may be possible, according to Penn State researchers.

Mammals shape their microbiome to prevent disease

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 01:35


How the host shapes the microbiota is
unclear. Gut microbes are well known to contribute to health and disease, but what has been less clear is how the host controls gut microbes. A study published January 13 in Cell Host & Microbe now reveals that mice and humans produce small molecules (microRNAs) from their GI tract, which are shed in feces, to regulate the composition of gut microbes and thereby protect against intestinal diseases such as colitis.

Lung cell found to act as sensor, regulator of immune response

Wed, 13/01/2016 - 00:32


Pulmonary neuroendocrine cells (red) are rare cells found in clusters along the mammalian airway, where they act as sensors, sending information to the central nervous system. These clusters are found... An uncommon and little-studied type of cell in the lungs has been found to act like a sensor, linking the pulmonary and central nervous systems to regulate immune response in reaction to environmental cues.

Cocaine addiction: Scientists discover 'back door' into the brain

Wed, 13/01/2016 - 00:32

Individuals addicted to cocaine may have difficulty in controlling their addiction because of a previously-unknown 'back door' into the brain, circumventing their self-control, suggests a new study led by the University of Cambridge.