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Alzheimer’s linked to brain hyperactivity

Alzheimer’s linked to brain hyperactivity

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease run a high risk of seizures. While the amyloid-beta protein involved in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s seems the most likely cause for this neuronal hyperactivity, how and why this elevated activity takes place hasn’t yet been explained — until now. A new study by Tel Aviv University researchers, published in Cell Reports , pinpoints the precise molecular mechanism that may trigger an enhancement of neuronal activity in Alzheimer’s patients, which subsequently damages memory and learning functions Continue reading

Gut microbe levels are linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity

Gut microbe levels are linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity

People with Type 2 diabetes or obesity have changes in the composition of their intestinal micro-organisms — called the gut microbiota — that healthy people do not have, researchers from Turkey have found. They presented the results Sunday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago. Continue reading

Biology of infection: A bacterial ballistic system

Biology of infection: A bacterial ballistic system

Bacteria secrete a broad range of specific proteins that can affect the behavior or survival of cells in their environment. Among the specialized transport systems responsible for the export of such factors are so-called Type VI secretion systems. In collaboration with Axel Mogk of the Center for Molecular Biology Heidelberg (ZMBH), biochemist Petra Wendler at the LMU’s Gene Center has now determined the three-dimensional structure of one of these export complexes. Continue reading

Bacteria evade human immune system with a burst of mutations during initial infection

Bacteria evade human immune system with a burst of mutations during initial infection

Bacteria that cause ulcers in humans undergo accelerated evolution during the initial stages of infection, allowing them to evade the immune system, according to new research by an international team of researchers including Penn State scientists. The study shows, for the first time, and in real-time, the interplay between the human immune system and invading bacteria that allows the bacteria to counter the immune response by quickly evolving. A paper describing the research is published in the 13 June 2014 issue of the journal Nature Communications Continue reading

Eye evolution: From dark-light to detailed eyesight

Eye evolution: From dark-light to detailed eyesight

Larvae of the marine bristle worm Platynereis dumerilii orient themselves using light. Early in their development, these larvae swim towards the light to use surface currents for their dispersal. Continue reading

Humans’ tiny cellular machines: Spliceosomes in detail

Humans’ tiny cellular machines: Spliceosomes in detail

A grandfather clock is, on its surface, a simple yet elegant machine. Tall and stately, its job is to steadily tick away the time. Continue reading

Atomic structure of essential circadian clock protein complex determined

Atomic structure of essential circadian clock protein complex determined

Structural biologists have made important progress towards better understanding the functioning of the circadian clock. The circadian or inner clock coordinates the sleep-wake rhythm and many other body processes that regulate, for example, metabolism, blood pressure, and the immune system Continue reading

Atomic structure of essential circadian clock protein complex determined

Atomic structure of essential circadian clock protein complex determined

Structural biologists have made important progress towards better understanding the functioning of the circadian clock. The circadian or inner clock coordinates the sleep-wake rhythm and many other body processes that regulate, for example, metabolism, blood pressure, and the immune system Continue reading

Insights into genetics of cleft lip

Insights into genetics of cleft lip

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, have identified how a specific stretch of DNA controls far-off genes to influence the formation of the face. The study, published today in Nature Genetics, helps understand the genetic causes of cleft lip and cleft palate, which are among the most common congenital malformations in humans. “This genomic region ultimately controls genes which determine how to build a face and genes which produce the basic materials needed to execute this plan,” says François Spitz from EMBL, who led the work Continue reading

Insights into genetics of cleft lip

Insights into genetics of cleft lip

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, have identified how a specific stretch of DNA controls far-off genes to influence the formation of the face. Continue reading