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'Jumping genes' repeatedly form new genes over evolution
A study, 'Recurrent Evolution of Vertebrate Transcription Factors by Transposase Capture,' published Feb. 19 in Science, investigates how genetic elements called transposons, or ''jumping genes,'' are added into the mix during evolution to assemble new genes through exon shuffling. (2021-02-22)

Sex that is not for reproduction
Conjugation (or mating) of ciliates is a unique phenomenon among living beings. They have sex not for reproduction or pleasure - they seek to increase genetic variation. Scientists from St Petersburg University, together with colleagues from Poland and France, have studied the mating process in five sibling species of the Paramecium aurelia complex. Their findings enabled them to describe genetic mechanisms behind this phenomenon. (2021-02-19)

T cells depressed
In chronic infections, the immune system can become exhausted. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have looked into how this works. (2021-02-12)

Antitumoral effects of LXR activation
Tumor cells are able to avoid the attack of the immune system through several mechanisms. For instance, these can secrete factors that turn macrophages -cells in the immune system- into dual action agents that contribute to the tumor progress and will protect it from immune body defences: these become, thus, the tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). (2021-02-12)

Bacterial degradation of the MYC oncogene -- a new cancer treatment strategy?
Scientists at Lund University have discovered how E. coli bacteria target and degrade the well-known oncogene MYC, which is involved in many forms of cancer. The study is now published in Nature Biotechnology. (2021-02-12)

Stirring up conflicts in tumour cells
With two commercially available inhibitors, the cell cycle of the cancer cells in the childhood tumour neuroblastoma can be disrupted at a key point causing tumour cell death. (2021-02-11)

Researchers identify a new molecular mechanism related to severe anaphylaxis
In a study led by researchers of the University of Barcelona and IDIBAPS, researchers analyzed the mutation of a gen detected in a patient who suffered from recurrent anaphylactic shocks caused by the allergy to paper wasp venom (Polistes dominula). The results, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, revealed a new molecular mechanism that can control the degree of severity in an anaphylactic reaction. (2021-02-09)

Synthetic protein quality control system in bacteria
Synthetic protein quality control system in bacteria. (2021-02-08)

Molecular sleuthing identifies and corrects major flaws in blood-brain barrier model
A type of cell derived from human stem cells that has been widely used for brain research and drug development may have been leading researchers astray for years, according to a study from scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University Irving Medical Center. (2021-02-08)

At the core of the Integrator complex
A new paper from the Galej group at EMBL Grenoble describes the structure of key parts of the Integrator complex. This complex, which is composed of multiple protein subunits, is involved in global regulation of the process of transcription, during which the cell's DNA is used as a template to make instructions in the form of RNA. Knowing the structure of the Integrator complex will help scientists to better understand the interactions between its subunits and how it is involved in gene expression. (2021-02-05)

Drop the stress
Under stress conditions, cells switch quickly from the normal to the crisis mode to prevent themselves from being damaged. This so-called heat shock response is associated with a rapid downregulation of gene activity to release capacities to cope with the threat. Researchers at the MPI of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg have now discovered how exactly a stress-induced molecular droplet formation of the transcription regulator NELF downregulates transcription to promote cell survival upon stress. (2021-02-05)

How blood and lymph vessels remain separated after development
Researchers in Japan have clarified the mechanism by which blood and lymphatic vessels remain separated after development. The characteristics and structures of these two vessel types are very similar, and how they maintain separation has remained unexplained for many years. In this study, researchers found that the molecule Folliculin (FLCN) in vascular endothelial cells acts as a gatekeeper to maintain separation between the two. (2021-02-04)

New stem cell therapy in dogs -- a breakthrough in veterinary medicine
A team of scientists in Japan has developed a novel method to induce stem cell generation from the blood samples of dogs. Through this technique, the scientists hope to advance regenerative therapies in veterinary medicine. This would mean that, in the near future, veterinarians might be able to reverse conditions in dogs that were previously thought incurable. (2021-02-03)

Aging-US: Sulforaphane promotes C. elegans longevity and healthspan
'The results in this Aging-US research output, indicate that sulforaphane prolongs the lifespan and healthspan of C. elegans through insulin/IGF-1 signaling.' (2021-02-03)

First ever 'pioneer' factor found in plants enables cells to change their fate
To start the process of unpacking tightly bundled genetic material, plants depend on the LEAFY pioneer protein, according to work led by University of Pennsylvania biologist Doris Wagner. (2021-01-27)

Aging-US: Growth factor beta type 1 and hypoxia-inducible factor 1 transcription complex
''The Aging-US authors report for the first time that in human breast cancer, AML and embryonic cells, HIF-1 and AP-1 upregulate the expression of TGF-β'' (2021-01-25)

Biologists unravel full sequence of DNA repair mechanism
Researchers led by the University of Iowa have observed the entire sequence in break-induced replication, a method by which organisms from viruses to humans repair breaks in DNA that cannot be fixed otherwise but can introduce or cause genomic rearrangements and mutations contributing to cancer development. (2021-01-25)

Proteins unspool DNA so cells can take on unique properties
New research reveals how proteins, called 'pioneer transcription factors,' help turn on key genes that give cell types their unique properties and functions. (2021-01-22)

Getting under your skin: Molecular research builds new understanding of skin regeneration
New research from Northwestern University has found new evidence deep within the skin about the mechanisms controlling skin repair and renewal. (2021-01-19)

TalTech's neuroscientists investigate the causes of a widespread eye disease
Fuchs' corneal dystrophy is one of the most common eye diseases diagnosed in almost 5% of the population of Europe aged 40 years or over. It is a hereditary eye disease that causes vision impairment and typically manifests in middle age. The first symptoms of the disease - blisters on the surface of your cornea - resemble cataract at first glance. (2021-01-13)

New insights into the control of inflammation
Wistar scientists discovered that EGR1inhibits expression of pro-inflammatory genes in macrophages. The discovery expands the understanding of how macrophages are set off and deactivated in the inflammatory process, which is critical in many normal and pathological conditions. (2021-01-13)

UCI researchers use deep learning to identify gene regulation at single-cell level
In a Science Advances study, UCI researchers describe how they developed a deep-learning framework to observe gene regulation at the cellular level. (2021-01-12)

Integrator: A guardian of the human transcriptome
In a joint collaboration, Danish and German researchers have characterized a cellular activity that protects our cells from potentially toxic by-products of gene expression. This activity is central for the ability of multicellular organisms to uphold a robust evolutionary 'reservoir' of gene products. (2021-01-05)

DeepTFactor predicts transcription factors
A joint research team from KAIST and UCSD has developed a deep neural network named DeepTFactor that predicts transcription factors from protein sequences. DeepTFactor will serve as a useful tool for understanding the regulatory systems of organisms, accelerating the use of deep learning for solving biological problems. (2021-01-05)

High-speed atomic force microscopy takes on intrinsically disordered proteins
Kanazawa University's pioneering high-speed atomic force microscope technology has now shed light on the structure and dynamics of some of life's most ubiquitous and inscrutable molecules - intrinsically disordered proteins. The study is reported in Nature Nanotechnology. (2020-12-28)

Brain gene expression patterns predict behavior of individual honey bees
An unusual study that involved bar coding and tracking the behavior of thousands of individual honey bees in six queenless bee hives and analyzing gene expression in their brains offers new insights into how gene regulation contributes to social behavior. (2020-12-22)

Beyond changing DNA itself, mutagens also cause errors in gene transcription
The discovery that toxic stressors can cause errors in gene transcription opens new avenues of research on diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and sheds light on the potential role of the ''transcriptome'' in aging. (2020-12-21)

The far-reaching effects of mutagens on human health
Mutagenic threats to a cell's subtle machinery may be far more widespread than previously appreciated. In a new study, Michael Lynch and his colleagues demonstrate that DNA mutation itself may represent only a fraction the health-related havoc caused by mutagens. The study highlights the ability of mutagenic compounds to also affect the process of transcription, during which a DNA sequence is converted (or transcribed) to mRNA, an intermediary stage preceding translation into protein. (2020-12-21)

Protecting against atherosclerosis at the molecular level
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba identified a novel mechanism by which CREB3L3 protects against atherosclerosis. By studying the absence or overexpression of the protein in mice prone to develop atherosclerosis, the researchers demonstrated that the absence of CREB3L3 exacerbates the formation of atherosclerosis, whereby the overexpression protects against atherosclerosis. At the molecular level, CREB3L3 exhibited its protective effects by inhibiting SREBP. This study could help develop a novel molecular target against atherosclerosis. (2020-12-20)

RNA molecules are masters of their own destiny
A new paper suggests that RNA molecules are responsible for regulating their own formation through a feedback loop. Too few RNA molecules, and the cell initiates transcription to create more. Then, at a certain threshold, too many RNA molecules cause transcription to draw to a halt. (2020-12-16)

Oh so simple: Eight genes enough to convert mouse stem cells into oocyte-like cells
By activating just eight genes for transcription factors, researchers at Kyushu University have directly converted mouse stem cells into oocyte-like cells that mature and can even be fertilized like egg cells. In addition to giving new insight into egg cell development, the research may lead to a simple route for generating large amounts of oocyte cytoplasm for use in reproductive biology and medicine. (2020-12-16)

Neuroregenerative gene therapy
Spinal cord injury (SCI) often causes disability and seriously compromises quality of life. The major reasons for the difficulty of treatment for SCI might be due to the fact that many neurons are lost during the injury, leading to permanent loss of neural functions. An innovative gene therapy approach regenerated functional new neurons using local glial cells in the injured spinal cord, bringing new hope to millions of SCI patients worldwide. (2020-12-16)

Quantitative approach on understanding how epigenetic switches control gene expression
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology decipher how to quantitatively assess the effects of specific epigenetic changes on the rate of transcription by developing a mathematical model. For this, they successfully generated reconstituted chromatin bearing histone modifications in vitro. Their study published in Nucleic Acids Research provides an accurate quantitative approach for understanding how site-specific changes to histone proteins impact the accessibility of chromatin and gene expression levels. (2020-12-10)

Memory deficits resulting from epigenetic changes in Alzheimer's disease can be reversed
Memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) may be able to be restored by inhibiting certain enzymes involved in abnormal gene transcription, according to a preclinical study by researchers at the University at Buffalo. (2020-12-09)

New compact model for gene regulation in higher organisms
Genes can be turned on and off as needed to adapt to environmental changes. But how do the different molecules involved interact with each other? Scientists from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) present a candidate mathematical model for gene regulation in eukaryotic cells. The study was published in PNAS. (2020-12-03)

CRISPR tagging improves accuracy of model cells grown from stem cells
CRISPR tags are being used to identify all of the transcription factors necessary to turn a pluripotent stem cell into a suitable adult cell for research, and possible future cell therapies. A paper in Cell Reports documents its use for making adult neuronal cells, but the technique could be applied to any cell type. (2020-12-01)

Customized programming of human stem cells
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) have the potential to convert into a wide variety of cell types and tissues. However, the ''recipes'' for this conversion are often complicated and difficult to implement. Researchers at TU Dresden, Harvard University (USA) and the University of Bonn have found a way to systematically extract hundreds of different cells quickly and easily from iPS using transcription factors. Researchers can use this transcription factor source through the non-profit organization Addgene. (2020-11-30)

Study revealing the secret behind a key cellular process refutes biology textbooks
New research has identified and described a cellular process that, despite what textbooks say, has remained elusive to scientists until now -- precisely how the copying of genetic material that, once started, is properly turned off. (2020-11-26)

Dormant threat: Abnormal proteins unleash latent toxicity in neurodegenerative diseases
Though neurodegenerative diseases are becoming more common in today's aging societies, the exact way in which accumulated abnormal proteins become toxic to neurons is unknown. In a recent study conducted at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Korea, scientists have discovered a new mechanism of action by which these abnormal proteins actually unlock the normally latent toxicity of native proteins. Their results represent a completely new avenue toward the development of effective therapies. (2020-11-20)

Insights on a mechanism to stop COVID-19 replication
Stopping the replication of SARS-CoV-2 is likely possible thanks to a compound called EBSELEN: a group of researchers from the Politecnico di Milano has communicated aspects relevant to the blocking of replication mechanism in the New Journal of Chemistry. (2020-11-19)

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