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Science

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Memory, Synapse, Autism, PTSD

Scientists Discover “Thunder” Protein That Regulates Memory Formation

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered in mice a molecular wrecking ball that powers the demolition phase of a cycle that occurs at synapses — those specialized connections between nerve cells in the brain — and whose activity appears critical for both limiting and enhancing learning and memory. The newly revealed protein, which the researchers named thorase after Thor, the Norse god of thunder, belongs to a large family of enzymes that energize not only neurological construction jobs but also deconstruction projects.

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Hopkins Team Discovers How DNA Changes

Using human kidney cells and brain tissue from adult mice, Johns Hopkins scientists have uncovered the sequence of steps that makes normally stable DNA undergo the crucial chemical changes implicated in cancers, psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. The process may also be involved in learning and memory, the researchers say.

Medicine

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Spinal Cord, Cell Receptors

Researchers Rescue Nerve Cells in Spinal Cord Dysfunction

Researchers at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, Toronto Western Hospital have identified a cell receptor, which is responsible for cell death in the spinal cord in a condition called Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy (CSM). The findings, published today online in the journal Brain, show that when the cell receptor was blocked, nerve cells were preserved, protecting against loss of motor function.

Science

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K-State, Kansas State University, p21, Cancer, Aging, cell, Protein, Biochemistry, Chronic Disease

Biochemist Uses Computer Models to Study Protein Involved with Cancer, Aging and Chronic Disease

A Kansas State University biochemist was one of the researchers on a collaborative project that took a combined computational and experimental approach to understand how protein p21 functions as a versatile regulator of cell division.

Science

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Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia Development, Nueroscience

Patients' Own Cells Yield New Insights Into the Biology of Schizophrenia

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After a century of studying the causes of schizophrenia-the most persistent disabling condition among adults-the cause of the disorder remains unknown. Now induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated from schizophrenic patients have brought researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies a step closer to a fundamental understanding of the biological underpinnings of the disease.

Medicine

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Cancer, Tumor, Cancer Cells, Cellular Pathway, Colon Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Biopsy, Wnt signaling pathway, Liver Cancer, Breast Cancer, Skin Cancer, Cell Death, Cell Proliferation, Cancerous Cells, Lung Cancer, Leukemia

Small Molecules Inhibit Growth of Human Tumor Cells

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Researchers from the Cancer Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center have identified three novel small molecules that interrupt a crucial cellular communication pathway that regulates many aspects of development and cancer. The finding, published in the April 12, 2011 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and featured on its cover, could provide the basis for innovative therapies for colorectal cancer and other diseases associated with aberrations in this pathway.

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Biologists Find Another Clue to the Origin of Neurodegenerative Diseases

A Tufts University research team shows that cell death in yeast can also result from the process by which the cell repairs damage that occurs within a repeated CAG/CTG sequence. Their findings increase understanding of how diseases like Huntington's develop in humans.

Medicine

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Outsmarting Cancer Cells: Researchers Learn How They Spread

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Saint Louis University scientists discover how to control traffic in the lymphatic system.

Science

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Biology, Cancer, Genetics, Koch Institute

Biologists Pinpoint a Genetic Change That Helps Tumors Move to Other Parts of the Body

MIT cancer biologists have identified a genetic change that makes lung tumors more likely to spread to other parts of the body. The findings, to be published in the April 6 online issue of Nature, offers new insight into how lung cancers metastasize and could help identify drug targets to combat metastatic tumors, which account for 90 percent of cancer deaths.

Science

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Enzyme, paleoenzymology, Gene, Reconstruction, Biofuels, Synthetic Biology, Computational Biology, Atomic Force Microscopy

Researchers Resurrect Four-Billion-Year-Old Enzymes, Reveal Conditions of Early Life on Earth

A team of scientists from Columbia University, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Granada in Spain have successfully reconstructed active enzymes from four-billion-year-old extinct organisms. By measuring the properties of these enzymes, they could examine the conditions in which the extinct organisms lived. The results shed new light on how life has adapted to changes in the environment from ancient to modern Earth.

Science

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Culture, Sweet, Taste Receptor, Regeneration

Human Taste Cells Regenerate in a Dish

Following years of futile attempts, new research from the Monell Center demonstrates that living human taste cells can be maintained in culture for at least seven months. The findings provide scientists with a valuable tool to learn about the human sense of taste and how it functions in health and disease.

Science

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Genetic Tagging, Diagnostics, Cellular Biology, Electron Microscopy

Rejuvenating Electron Microscopy

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Modifying a protein from a plant much favored by science, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and colleagues have created a new type of genetic tag visible under an electron microscope, illuminating life in never-before-seen detail.

Science

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ancient protein, Enzyme, thioredoxin, Precambrian, Origin Of Life, Origin Of Species, Early Earth, Environment, Ancestral, ancestral proteins, PH, Temperature, Acidity, Protein Stability, resurrected protein

Protein Adaptation Shows Life on Early Earth Lived in a Hot, Acidic Environment

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A new study reveals that a group of ancient enzymes adapted to substantial changes in ocean temperature and acidity during the last four billion years, providing evidence that life on Early Earth evolved from a much hotter, more acidic environment to the cooler, less acidic global environment today.

Medicine

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Cancer, Cell Biology, Tumors, Inflammation, Biochemistry

Call of the Riled

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Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say a “stress response” mechanism used by normal cells to cope with harsh or demanding conditions is exploited by cancer cells, which transmit the same stress signal to surrounding cells, triggering an inflammatory response in them that can aid tumor growth.

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Spotted salamanders, Oophilia amblystoma, Endosymbiosis, Endosymbionts, Mutualisms

Algae That Live Inside the Cells of Salamanders Are the First Known Vertebrate Endosymbionts

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A species of algae long known to associate with spotted salamanders has been discovered to live inside the cells of developing embryos, say scientists from the U.S. and Canada, who report their findings in this week's PNAS. This is the first known example of a eukaryotic algae living stably inside the cells of any vertebrate.

Medicine

Science

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Cancer, Cell Death, skip, p21

‘SKIP’-ing Splicing Forces Tumor Cells to Undergo Programmed Cell Death

When cells find themselves in a tight spot, the cell cycle regulator p21 halts the cell cycle, buying cells time to repair the damage, or if all else fails, to initiate programmed cell death. In contrast to other stress-induced genes, which dispense with the regular transcriptional entourage, p21Cip1 still requires SKIP, a transcription elongation factor that also helps with the editing of transcripts, to be expressed, found researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Medicine

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Kshv, Cancer, AIDS research, B Cell, B Cells, Retrovirus, Uva Health System, UVA School of Medicine, Dean Kedes

Cells in Human Tonsils are Likely Targets of the Cancer-Causing KSHV Herpes Virus

A recent groundbreaking study from University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers now provides strong evidence that the KSHV virus invades the body through human saliva and silently infects a certain type of B cell found in the tonsils. Their findings, published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) and featured as an “Editor’s Pick,” could help scientists block the spread of the virus within an individual and between people, thus preventing the early onset of cancer.

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Fruit Fly's Response to Starvation Could Help Control Human Appetites

Biologists at UC San Diego have identified the molecular mechanisms triggered by starvation in fruit flies that enhance the nervous system’s response to smell, allowing these insects and presumably vertebrates—including humans—to become more efficient and voracious foragers when hungry. Their discovery of the neural changes that control odor-driven food searches in flies, which they detail in a paper in the April 1 issue of the journal Cell, could provide a new way to potentially regulate human appetite.

Science

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Pyrrolysine, Amino Acid, Lysine

Scientists Unlock Mystery of How the 22nd Amino Acid is Produced

The most recently discovered amino acid, pyrrolysine, is produced by a series of just three chemical reactions with a single precursor – the amino acid lysine, according to new research.

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Retinoblastoma

Two Pathways in the Cell Interact to Spur Tumor Growth

Inactivation of two pathways that regulate cell division profoundly disrupts cell-cycle control and leads to tumor growth, according to researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.







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