Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 20, 2013
La Jolla Institute identifies molecular switch enabling immune cells to better fight disease
A research team led by the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology has discovered the mechanism that enables CD4 helper T cells to assume the more aggressive role of killer T cells in mounting an immune attack against viruses, cancerous tumors and other damaged or infected cells.

Warmer soils release additional CO2 into atmosphere; Effect stabilizes over longer term
Warmer temperatures due to climate change could cause soils to release additional carbon into the atmosphere, thereby enhancing climate change - but that effect diminishes over the long term, finds a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Researchers turn one form of neuron into another in the brain
A new finding by Harvard stem cell biologists turns one of the basics of neurobiology on its head -- demonstrating that it is possible to turn one type of already differentiated neuron into another within the brain.

Wind in the willows boosts biofuel production
Willows cultivated for green energy can yield five times more biofuel if they grow diagonally, compared with those that grow naturally straight up.

Genetic basis of high-risk childhood cancer points to possible new drug treatment strategy
Research led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists has identified a possible lead in treatment of two childhood leukemia subtypes known for their dramatic loss of chromosomes and poor treatment outcomes.

Tumors evolve rapidly in a childhood cancer, leaving fewer obvious tumor targets
An extensive genomic study of the childhood cancer neuroblastoma reinforces the challenges in treating the most aggressive forms of this disease.

UT MD Anderson scientists find protein that reins in runaway network
Marked for death with molecular tags that act like a homing signal for a cell's protein-destroying machinery, a pivotal enzyme is rescued by another molecule that sweeps the telltale targets off in the nick of time.

Developing microbial cell factories by employing synthetic small regulatory RNAs
A Korean research team led by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, reported that synthetic small RNA can be employed for finely controlling the expression levels of multiple genes at the translation level.

Blood-based biomarkers may lead to earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological condition. At present, it is usually diagnosed only when motor features are present.

'Quadruple helix' DNA discovered in human cells
In 1953, Cambridge researchers Watson and Crick published a paper describing the interweaving

Genes and their regulatory 'tags' conspire to promote rheumatoid arthritis
In one of the first genome-wide studies to hunt for both genes and their regulatory

Mature T cells can switch function to better tackle infection
The fate of mature T lymphocytes might be a lot more flexible than previously thought.

A new type of volcanic eruption
Scientists based in the UK and New Zealand have described a
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