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Chips with olestra cause body toxins to dip, study finds

Chips with olestra cause body toxins to dip, study finds

According to a clinical trial led by University of Cincinnati researchers, a snack food ingredient called olestra has been found to speed up the removal of toxins in the body. Results are reported in the April edition of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The trial demonstrated that olestra — a zero-calorie fat substitute found in low-calorie snack foods such as Pringles — could reduce the levels of serum polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in people who had been exposed to PCBs. Continue reading

Synthetic gene circuits pump up cell signals in study of neurodegenerative diseases

Synthetic gene circuits pump up cell signals in study of neurodegenerative diseases

Synthetic genetic circuitry created by researchers at Rice University is helping them see, for the first time, how to regulate cell mechanisms that degrade the misfolded proteins implicated in Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other diseases. The Rice lab of chemical and biomolecular engineer Laura Segatori has designed a sophisticated circuit that signals increases in the degradation of proteins by the cell’s ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS). The research appears online today in Nature Communications Continue reading

Synthetic gene circuits pump up cell signals in study of neurodegenerative diseases

Synthetic gene circuits pump up cell signals in study of neurodegenerative diseases

Synthetic genetic circuitry created by researchers at Rice University is helping them see, for the first time, how to regulate cell mechanisms that degrade the misfolded proteins implicated in Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other diseases. The Rice lab of chemical and biomolecular engineer Laura Segatori has designed a sophisticated circuit that signals increases in the degradation of proteins by the cell’s ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS). The research appears online today in Nature Communications Continue reading

Work with small peptide chains may revolutionize study of enzymes, diseases

Work with small peptide chains may revolutionize study of enzymes, diseases

Chemists in The College of Arts and Sciences have, for the first time, created enzyme-like activity using peptides that are only seven amino acids long. Continue reading

Antioxidants can protect against omega 6 damage — or promote it

Antioxidants can protect against omega 6 damage — or promote it

Given omega 6 fatty acid’s reputation for promoting cancer — at least in animal studies — researchers are examining the role that antioxidants play in blocking the harmful effects of this culprit, found in many cooking oils. After all, antioxidants are supposed to prevent DNA damage. Continue reading

Cancer researchers find key protein link

Cancer researchers find key protein link

A new understanding of proteins at the nexus of a cell’s decision to survive or die has implications for researchers who study cancer and age-related diseases, according to biophysicists at the Rice University-based Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP). Experiments and computer analysis of two key proteins revealed a previously unknown binding interface that could be addressed by medication. Results of the research appear this week in an open-source paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Continue reading

From mouse ears to human’s? Gene therapy to address progressive hearing loss

From mouse ears to human’s? Gene therapy to address progressive hearing loss

One in a thousand children in the United States is deaf, and one in three adults will experience significant hearing loss after the age of 65. Continue reading

Stem cell study finds source of earliest blood cells during development

Stem cell study finds source of earliest blood cells during development

Hematopoietic stem cells are now routinely used to treat patients with cancers and other disorders of the blood and immune systems, but researchers knew little about the progenitor cells that give rise to them during embryonic development. In a study published April 8 in Stem Cell Reports , Matthew Inlay of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, and faculty member of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and Stanford University colleagues created novel cell assays that identified the earliest arising HSC precursors based on their ability to generate all major blood cell types (red blood cells, platelets and immune cells). This discovery of very early differentiating blood cells, Inlay said, may be very beneficial for the creation of HSC lines for clinical treatments Continue reading

Gene family linked to brain evolution implicated in severity of autism symptoms

Gene family linked to brain evolution implicated in severity of autism symptoms

The same gene family that may have helped the human brain become larger and more complex than in any other animal also is linked to the severity of autism, according to new research from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The gene family is made up of over 270 copies of a segment of DNA called DUF1220. DUF1220 codes for a protein domain — a specific functionally important segment within a protein Continue reading

Proteins that control energy use necessary to form stem cells

Proteins that control energy use necessary to form stem cells

Two proteins that control how cells break down glucose play a key role in forming human stem cells, University of Washington researchers have found. The finding has implications for future work in both regenerative medicine and cancer therapy Continue reading