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Cell Biology News
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 15:10:35 EDT
Male or female? First sex-determining genes appeared in mammals some 180 million years ago
The Y chromosome, which distinguishes males from females at the genetic level, appeared some 180 million years ago. It originated twice independently in all mammals. Scientists have managed to date these events that are crucial for both mammalian evolution and our lives, because the Y chromosome determines whether we are born as a boy or girl.
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:26:45 EDT
Enzymes that help fix cancer-causing DNA defects disovered
An important enzyme pathway that helps prevent new cells from receiving too many or too few chromosomes, a condition that has been directly linked to cancer and other diseases, has been discovered by researchers. Near the end of cell division, the enzyme Cdc14 activates Yen1, an enzyme that ensures any breaks in DNA are fully repaired before the parent cell distributes copies of the genome to daughter cells, the researchers found. This process helps safeguard against some of the most devastating genome errors, including the loss of chromosomes or chromosome segments.
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:24:21 EDT
From liability to viability: Genes on the Y chromosome prove essential for male survival
The human Y chromosome has, over the course of millions of years of evolution, preserved a small set of genes that has ensured not only its own survival but also the survival of men. Moreover, the vast majority of these tenacious genes appear to have little if any role in sex determination or sperm production. Taken together, these remarkable findings suggest that because these Y-linked genes are active across the body, they may actually be contributing to differences in disease susceptibility and severity observed between men and women.
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:15:59 EDT
Following a protein's travel inside cells is key to improving patient monitoring, drug development
A technique to detect subcellular location of a protein has been developed by scientists. In science, "simple and accessible detection methods that can rapidly screen a large cell population with the resolution of a single cell inside that population has been seriously lacking," said one engineer involved in the study. Their work involved a simple and unique tweak to the conventional cell staining process allowed the researchers to accurately define the subcellular location of the protein by measuring the amount of the residual protein after release.
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:51:56 EDT
Cell division speed influences gene architecture
Speed-reading is a technique used to read quickly. It involves visual searching for clues to meaning and skipping non-essential words and/or sentences. Similarly in humans, biological systems are sometimes under selective pressure to quickly "read" genetic information. Genes that need to be read quickly are usually small, as the smaller the encoding message, the easier it will be to read them quickly. Now, researchers have discovered that, besides size, the gene architecture is also important to the optimization of the “reading” process.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:23:15 EDT
Getting at the root of mountain pine beetle's rapid habitat expansion
The mountain pine beetle has wreaked havoc in North America, across forests from the American Southwest to British Columbia and Alberta, with the potential to spread all the way to the Atlantic coast. Using a newly sequenced beetle genome, authors examined how the pine beetle could undergo such rapid habitat range expansion.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:28:19 EDT
Scientists pinpoint protein that could improve small cell lung cancer therapies
Approximately 15 percent of all lung cancers are small cell lung cancers, which grow rapidly and often develop resistance to chemotherapy. However, researchers have revealed new insights into the mechanisms leading to this resistance that may lead to improved therapies. They discovered that the expression of a protein called Noxa is critical to the effectiveness of ABT-737 because it helps regulate the function of MCL-1, another pro-survival Bcl-2 family protein.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:20:38 EDT
Bioinformatics profiling identifies a new mammalian clock gene
Over 15 mammalian clock proteins have been identified, but researchers surmise there are more. Could big data approaches help find them? To accelerate clock-gene discovery, investigators used a computer-assisted approach to identify and rank candidate clock components, which they liken to online Netflix-like profiling of movie suggestions for customers. This approach found a new core clock gene, which the team named CHRONO.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:20:36 EDT
Critical new protein complex involved in learning, memory
A protein complex that plays a critical but previously unknown role in learning and memory formation has been identified by researchers. "This is a critical building block that regulates a fundamental process -- memory," said the lead author of the study. "Now that we know about this important new player, it offers a unique therapeutic window if we can find a way to enhance its function."
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:09:38 EDT
Neuroimaging Technique: Live from inside the cell in real-time
A novel imaging technique provides insights into the role of redox signaling and reactive oxygen species in living neurons, in real time. Scientists have developed a new optical microscopy technique to unravel the role of 'oxidative stress' in healthy as well as injured nervous systems.
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