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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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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New tool mines scientific texts for fusion protein facts: Computational approach could aid efforts to develop personalized cancer treatments

A new computational tool called ProtFus screens scientific literature to validate predictions about the activity of fusion proteins — proteins encoded by the joining of two genes that previously encoded two separate proteins. Somnath Tagore in the Frenkel-Morgenstern Lab at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and colleagues present ProtFus in PLOS Computational Biology. Different kinds of fusion proteins can arise naturally in […]

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High-risk pregnancy: The interferon effect: Discovery of a cellular mechanism involved in abnormal placental development during some high-risk pregnancies

High-risk pregnancies occur frequently and may be caused by various factors. It is estimated that 10 to 20% of pregnant women miscarry during their first trimester of pregnancy. Slow fetal growth may also arise as a result of maternal infection with certain microbes, parasites or viruses (such as toxoplasmosis or infection with rubella virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes or Zika) or because […]

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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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Cell-killing proteins suppress listeria without killing cells

New North Carolina State University research shows that key proteins known for their ability to prevent viral infections by inducing cell death can also block certain bacterial infections without triggering the death of the host cells. Rather than killing host cells infected by Listeria in the gastrointestinal tract, the RIPK3 and MLKL proteins recognize the chemical composition of the bacteria […]

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Structure of the molecular machine that links carbohydrate and lipid metabolism

A research team led by dr. Kenneth Verstraete in the Unit for Structural Biology at the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research has unraveled the three-dimensional structure and molecular mechanism of ATP citrate lyase (ACLY). This is a central metabolic enzyme — a protein that accelerates chemical reactions — important for the production of fatty acids and cholesterol in the human […]

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Fine-tuning cell death: New component of death machinery revealed

An important component of the microscopic machinery that drives cell death has been identified by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists. Studying the ‘pro-death’ machinery that forces damaged, diseased or unwanted cells to die, the research team revealed a protein called VDAC2 was critical for the function of a key pro-death protein called Bax. The team also showed VDAC2 contributed […]

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How your muscles form

All vertebrates need muscles to function; they are the most abundant tissue in the human body and are integral to movement. In a recent article published in Nature Communications, an international team of researchers discovered two proteins essential to the development of skeletal muscle. This research, led by Jean-François Côté, a professor at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) and […]

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