Neurobiologists have discovered a mechanism by which the constantly changing brain retains memories—from that dog bite to that first kiss. They have found that the brain co-opts the same machinery by which cells stably alter their genes to specialize during embryonic development.
Courtney Miller and David Sweatt reported their findings in the March 15, 2007 issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.
Their studies aimed at exploring whether a process called DNA methylation plays a role in forming memories. In this process, molecules called methyl groups are attached to genes, which switches them off.
Scientists have discovered that the clouded leopard found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra is an entirely new species of cat. The secretive rainforest animal was originally thought to be the same species as the one found in mainland Southeast Asia.
Genetic analysis conducted at the U.S. National Cancer Institute shows that the difference between the two clouded leopard species is comparable to the differences between other large cat species like lions, tigers, and jaguars.
By mapping the interlocking structures of small molecules and mutated protein "receptors" in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and their colleagues have energized efforts to design molecules that mesh with these receptors, potentially interfering with cancer cell growth and survival.
In a study published in the March issue of Cancer Cell, researchers led by Michael Eck, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber used X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of two mutated forms of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in lung cancer cells. EGFR, a protein known as a tyrosine kinase, plays a key role in relaying growth signals within cells.
It's a modern medicinal miracle. Health food advocates haven't been this excited since Psyllium took the nation by storm. Cocoa is for real and it apparently does everything.
A short while ago, it was said to make us smarter.
and before then it could improve blood flow
and maybe deter cancer.
The first detailed images of an elusive drug target on the outer wall of bacteria may provide scientists with enough new information to aid design of novel antibiotics. The drugs are much needed to treat deadly infections initiated by Staphylococcus aureus and other bacterial pathogens.
The research team, led by Natalie Strynadka, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) international research scholar at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, published its findings in the March 9, 2007, issue of the journal Science.
The image shows a substrate based inhibitor in the GT region (blue) of the PBP2 enzyme that blocks bacterial cell wall synthesis.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine have determined a way to pre-screen cancer patients to see if they are suitable candidates for proteasome inhibitors, a promising class of anti-cancer drugs. They propose to test for p53, a well-known tumor-suppressor protein that is broken down by cellular machinery called proteasomes. This study appears online in the journal Blood, in advance of print publication in June 2007.
In cancer patients whose tumors do not produce p53, proteasome inhibitors might be ineffective. This patient group could be spared unnecessary treatment with possible harmful side effects.
A protein known as the "master watchman of the genome" for its ability to guard against cancer-causing DNA damage has been found to provide an entirely different level of cancer protection: By prompting the skin to tan in response to ultraviolet light from the sun, it deters the development of melanoma skin cancer, the fastest-increasing form of cancer in the world.
In a study in the March 9 issue of the journal Cell, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report that the protein, p53, is not only linked to skin tanning, but also may play a role in people's seemingly universal desire to be in the sun – an activity that, by promoting tanning, can reduce one's risk of melanoma.
New findings by a Queen's University research team dispel the popular notion that eating so-called "natural" foods will protect against cancer.
In fact, certain types of common foods and alcoholic beverages such as wine, cheese, yogurt and bread contain trace amounts of carcinogens. Maintaining a balanced diet from a variety of sources – including garlic – is a better choice, the researchers suggest.
Led by Dr. Poh-Gek Forkert of Queen's Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, the team has discovered that a naturally-occurring carcinogen found in alcoholic beverages and fermented foods causes DNA modification and mutations, ultimately leading to abnormal cell growth and lung cancer. Her research also shows that a component of garlic significantly reduces these changes.
The response of tumors to anticancer drugs has been observed in real-time 3-D images using technology developed at Purdue University.
The new digital holographic imaging system uses a laser and a charged couple device, or CCD, the same microchip used in household digital cameras, to see inside tumor cells. The device also may have applications in drug development and medical imaging.
"This is the first time holography has been used to study the effects of a drug on living tissue," said David D. Nolte, the Purdue professor of physics who leads the team. "We have moved beyond achieving a 3-D image to using that image for a direct physiological measure of what the drug is doing inside cancer cells.
Frog skin and human lungs hold secrets to developing new antibiotics, and a technique called solid-state NMR spectroscopy is a key to unlocking those secrets.
That's the view of University of Michigan researcher Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, who will discuss his group's progress toward that goal March 3 at the annual meeting of the Biophysical Society in Baltimore, Md.
Ramamoorthy's research group is using solid-state NMR to explore the germ-killing properties of natural antibiotics called antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are produced by virtually all animals, from insects to frogs to humans. AMPs are the immune system's early line of defense, battling microbes at the first places they try to penetrate: skin, mucous membranes and other surfaces.