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Malaria pathogen’s cellular skeleton under super-microscope

Malaria pathogen’s cellular skeleton under super-microscope

The tropical disease malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. For its survival and propagation, Plasmodium requires a protein called actin. Scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Germany used high-resolution structural biology methods to investigate the different versions of this protein in the parasite in high detail Continue reading

Protein researchers closing in on the mystery of schizophrenia

Protein researchers closing in on the mystery of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe disease for which there is still no effective medical treatment. In an attempt to understand exactly what happens in the brain of schizophrenic people, researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have analysed proteins in the brains of rats that have been given hallucinogenic drugs. This may pave the way for new and better medicines. Continue reading

Tumor-suppressor connects with histone protein to hinder gene expression

Tumor-suppressor connects with histone protein to hinder gene expression

A tumor-suppressing protein acts as a dimmer switch to dial down gene expression. It does this by reading a chemical message attached to another protein that’s tightly intertwined with DNA, a team led by scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014. The findings, also published in the journal Nature on April 10, provide evidence in support of the “histone code” hypothesis Continue reading

Tumor-suppressor connects with histone protein to hinder gene expression

Tumor-suppressor connects with histone protein to hinder gene expression

A tumor-suppressing protein acts as a dimmer switch to dial down gene expression. It does this by reading a chemical message attached to another protein that’s tightly intertwined with DNA, a team led by scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014. The findings, also published in the journal Nature on April 10, provide evidence in support of the “histone code” hypothesis. Continue reading

Stressful environments genetically affect African American boys

Stressful environments genetically affect African American boys

Stressful upbringings can leave imprints on the genes of children as young as age 9, according to a study led by Princeton University and Pennsylvania State University researchers. Such chronic stress during youth leads to physiological weathering similar to aging. A study of 40 9-year-old black boys, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , shows that those who grow up in disadvantaged environments have shorter telomeres — DNA sequences that generally shrink with age — than their advantaged peers Continue reading

Path to safer drugs for heart disease, cancer found by researchers

Path to safer drugs for heart disease, cancer found by researchers

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators may have found a way to solve a problem that has plagued a group of drugs called ligand-mimicking integrin inhibitors, which have the potential to treat conditions ranging from heart attacks to cancer metastasis. In a Nature Structural & Molecular Biology paper receiving advance online publication, the researchers provide a structural basis for the design of new and safer integrin inhibitors. Integrins are receptor proteins found on the surface of cells that determine whether or not cells adhere to adjacent cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix Continue reading

Path to safer drugs for heart disease, cancer found by researchers

Path to safer drugs for heart disease, cancer found by researchers

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators may have found a way to solve a problem that has plagued a group of drugs called ligand-mimicking integrin inhibitors, which have the potential to treat conditions ranging from heart attacks to cancer metastasis. In a Nature Structural & Molecular Biology paper receiving advance online publication, the researchers provide a structural basis for the design of new and safer integrin inhibitors. Integrins are receptor proteins found on the surface of cells that determine whether or not cells adhere to adjacent cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix 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

Free online software helps speed up genetic discoveries

Free online software helps speed up genetic discoveries

Microarray analysis — a complex technology commonly used in many applications such as discovering genes, disease diagnosis, drug development and toxicological research — has just become easier and more user-friendly. A new advanced software program called Eureka-DMA provides a cost-free, graphical interface that allows bioinformaticians and bench-biologists alike to initiate analyses, and to investigate the data produced by microarrays. Continue reading

New insights into conquering influenza

New insights into conquering influenza

Jan. 29, 2013 — Researchers from the University of Melbourne and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) have discovered a new protein that protects against viral infections such as influenza. As influenza spreads through the northern hemisphere winter, Dr Linda Wakim and her colleagues in the Laboratory of Professor Jose Villadangos from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, believe they have a new clue to why some people fight infections better than others Continue reading