Mystery solved about the machines that move your genes

Fleets of microscopic machines toil away in your cells, carrying out critical biological tasks and keeping you alive. By combining theory and experiment, researchers have discovered the surprising way one of these machines, called the spindle, avoids slowdowns: congestion. The spindle divides chromosomes in half during cell division, ensuring that both offspring cells contain a full set of genetic material. […]

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Understanding probiotic yeast

Researchers led by Prof. Johan Thevelein (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology) have discovered that Saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast with probiotic properties, produces uniquely excessive amounts of acetic acid, the main component of vinegar. They were also able to find the genetic basis for this trait, which allowed them to modify the acetic acid production of the yeast. If this unique […]

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The role of a single molecule in obesity: Molecule mimics high-fat diet-induced signaling

A single cholesterol-derived molecule, called 27-hydroxycholesterol (27HC), lurks inside your bloodstream and will increase your body fat, even if you don’t eat a diet filled with red meat and fried food. That kind of diet, however, will increase the levels of 27HC and body weight. “We found 27HC directly affects white adipose (fat) tissue and increases body fat, even without […]

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How viruses outsmart their host cells: Scientists decipher protein structure after more than fifty years of research

Viruses depend on host cells for replication, but how does a virus induce its host to transcribe its own genetic information alongside that of the virus, thus producing daughter viruses? For decades, researchers have been studying a type of bacteriophage known as ‘lambda’ to try and find an answer to this question. Using high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy, a research group from […]

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Mankai duckweed plant found to offer health benefits

Mankai, a new high-protein aquatic plant strain of duckweed, has significant potential as a superfood and provides glycemic control after carbohydrate consumption, a team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) has determined. Hila Zelicha, a registered dietician (R.D.) and Ph.D. student in the BGU Department of Public Health and her BGU colleagues researched the glycemic aspect of […]

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Autism largely caused by genetics, not environment: Study

(HealthDay)—The largest study of its kind, involving more than 2 million people across five countries, finds that autism spectrum disorders are 80% reliant on inherited genes. That means that environmental causes are responsible for just 20% of the risk. The findings could open new doors to research into the genetic causes of autism, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control […]

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New gene linked to healthy aging in worms

People with the same lifespan do not necessarily have the same quality of life. As we live longer, extending quality of life — “healthspan” — is gaining importance. Scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have discovered a gene linked with healthy ageing in the roundworm C. elegans, shedding light on the genetics of healthspan. […]

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Keeping a cell’s powerhouse in shape

A German-Swiss team around Professor Oliver Daumke from the MDC has investigated how a protein of the dynamin family deforms the inner mitochondrial membrane. The results, which also shed light on a hereditary disease of the optic nerve, have been published in Nature. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells, generating energy in the form of chemical compounds such as […]

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Phenols in cocoa bean shells may reverse obesity-related problems in mouse cells

Scientists may have discovered more reasons to love chocolate. A new study by researchers at the University of Illinois suggests that three of the phenolic compounds in cocoa bean shells have powerful effects on the fat and immune cells in mice, potentially reversing the chronic inflammation and insulin resistance associated with obesity. Visiting scholar in food science Miguel Rebollo-Hernanz and […]

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Chemical modifiers tag-team to regulate essential mechanism of life: Basic science discovery explains a fundamental way human cells differ from yeast cells

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have made a key observation about one of the most fundamental biological processes: gene transcription. A gene’s job is to provide a cell with the instructions to create a specific protein. The first step of this process is called transcription, during which the DNA is copied into RNA. The scribe is an enzyme called RNA […]

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