Category Archives: Science News

Lifelong learning is made possible by recycling of histones, study says

Lifelong learning is made possible by recycling of histones, study saysResearchers have discovered a new mechanism that helps neurons make new connections with one another, the basis for learning. Their discovery focuses on one particular type of DNA-supporting protein, the histone H3.3, and its role regulating gene expression. More »

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Sequential immunizations could be the key to HIV vaccine

Sequential immunizations could be the key to HIV vaccineScientists have thought for some time that multiple immunizations, each tailored to specific stages of the immune response, could be used to generate a special class of HIV-fighting antibodies, so-called broadly neutralizing antibodies. These findings provide the first evidence supporting this approach. More »

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Research reveals key interaction that opens the channel into the cell’s nucleus

Research reveals key interaction that opens the channel into the cell’s nucleusScientists have uncovered crucial steps in the dynamic dance that dilates and constricts the nuclear pore complex. Their ongoing work has shown this elaborate portal to and from the cell’s nucleus is much more than the inert structure it was once thought to be. More »

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Research shows how antibodies produce vaccine-like effect against tumors

Research shows how antibodies produce vaccine-like effect against tumorsAntibody therapy not only kills cancerous cells, it can confer lasting protection by priming the immune system to remember a tumor. Scientists have found this process centers on antibody-binding receptors found on two types of immune cells. Their results suggest ways to improve anti-cancer treatments. More »

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Fragments of tRNA suggest a novel mechanism for cancer progression

Fragments of tRNA suggest a novel mechanism for cancer progressionResearchers discover that particular genetic fragments, of a type of RNA known as transfer RNA, or tRNA, appear to be capable of reducing the growth and spread of breast cancer cells. More »

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Rockefeller scientists resolve long-standing debate over how many bacteria fight off invaders

For years, researchers have puzzled over conflicting results about the workings of type III CRISPR-Cas systems, a type of immune system found in many species of bacteria. Some data showed that this mechanism would target the virus’s DNA, while other experiments suggested it could only disable a virus once it had started replicating itself. New results suggest both mechanisms play a role.
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Odd histone helps suppress jumping genes in stem cells, study says

Odd histone helps suppress jumping genes in stem cells, study saysThe histone variant H3.3 appears to help keep certain genetic elements called retrotransponsons in place in the genome, preventing potentially harmful mutations in mouse embryonic stem cells, researchers have found. This discovery reveals a basic mechanism for epigenetics, or the control of inherited traits through means other than DNA. More »

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Research on the genetic roots of a blood disorder illustrates the challenges in parsing genetic data

Research on the genetic roots of a blood disorder illustrates the challenges in parsing genetic dataDoes a particular genetic variation translate into a predisposition to an illness, or is it simply a benign rearrangement of genetic code? Drawing up on genomic data from thousands of people, researchers attempted to answer this question by focusing on mutations in two genes associated with a key receptor in blood clotting. More »

In first human study, new antibody therapy shows promise in suppressing HIV infection

In first human study, new antibody therapy shows promise in suppressing HIV infectionIn the first results to emerge from HIV patient trials of a new generation of so-called broadly neutralizing antibodies, Rockefeller University researchers have found the experimental therapy can dramatically reduce the amount of virus present in a patient’s blood. The work, reported this week in Nature, brings fresh optimism to the field of HIV immunotherapy and suggests new strategies for fighting or even preventing HIV infection. More »

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Under the microscope, strong-swimming swamp bacteria spontaneously organize into crystals

Under the microscope, strong-swimming swamp bacteria spontaneously organize into crystalsBiophysicists have discovered that fast-swimming, sulfur-eating microbes known as Thiovulum majus can form a two-dimensional lattice of rotating cells. Not only is this the first known example of bacteria spontaneously creating such a pattern, never before have living things been seen to move together in this way. More »

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Genetic mutation helps explain why, in rare cases, flu can kill

Genetic mutation helps explain why, in rare cases, flu can killA small number of children who catch the influenza virus fall so ill they end up in the hospital even while their family and friends recover easily. New research from Rockefeller helps explain why: a rare genetic mutation that prevents the production of a critical protein, interferon, that is needed to fight off the virus. More »

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To survive, a parasite mixes and matches its disguises, study suggests

To survive, a parasite mixes and matches its disguises, study suggests A detailed look at the African sleeping sickness parasite’s strategy for evading its hosts’ immune systems revealed that the blood parasites assume a surprising diversity of protein coat disguises. In fact, the number of disguises necessary to maintain a long-term infection appears to exceed the functional genes that encode them. More »

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Researchers master gene editing technique in mosquito that transmits deadly diseases

Researchers master gene editing technique in mosquito that transmits deadly diseasesRockefeller University researchers have successfully harnessed a technique, CRISPR-Cas9 editing, to use in an important and understudied species: the mosquito, Aedes aegypti, which infects hundreds of millions of people annually with the deadly diseases chikungunya, yellow fever, and dengue fever. More »

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Chemical tag marks future microRNAs for processing, study shows

Chemical tag marks future microRNAs for processing, study showsNew research reveals how cells sort out the RNA molecules destined to become gene-regulating microRNAs by tagging them. Because microRNAs help control processes throughout the body, this discovery has wide-ranging implications for development, health and disease, including cancer.
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Changes in a blood-based molecular pathway identified in Alzheimer’s disease

Changes in a blood-based molecular pathway identified in Alzheimer’s diseaseResearchers identify a molecular bridge between amyloid-β and chronic inflammation, two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. That bridge, a molecular cascade known as the contact system, suggests the possibility of a simple blood test that could diagnose the disease early and non-invasively.
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Scientists pinpoint molecule that controls stem cell plasticity by boosting gene expression

Scientists pinpoint molecule that controls stem cell plasticity by boosting gene expressionExperiments placed Sox9 at the crux of a shift in gene expression associated with hair follicle stem cell identity. The molecule first makes stem cell genes accessible so they can become active, then recruits other molecules that promote the expression of these genes in stem cells found at the base of the hair follicle. More »

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New antibody therapy dramatically improves psoriasis symptoms in clinical trial

New antibody therapy dramatically improves psoriasis symptoms in clinical trialOnly a single treatment produced what researchers describe as “rapid, substantial, and durable clinical improvement” in patients. This raises the prospect of a treatment that could put this autoimmune disease of the skin into long-term remission. More »

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Analysis of worm neurons suggests how a single stimulus can trigger different responses

Analysis of worm neurons suggest how a single stimulus can trigger different responsesIn experiments, the state of a simple brain network determined the likelihood a worm would move toward a delicious smell or ignore it. Scaled up to account for the more nuanced behaviors of humans, the research may suggest ways in which our brains process competing motivations. More »

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Study details microRNA’s role as a double agent during Hep C infection

Study details microRNA’s role as a double agent during Hep C infectionBoth the virus and liver cells need the microRNA molecules the liver produces to regulate its genes. Researchers found that by co-opting one microRNA, the virus may cause changes in gene expression in liver cells. More »

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Growth signal can influence cancer cells’ vulnerability to drugs, study suggests

Growth signal can influence cancer cells’ vulnerability to drugs, study suggestsResearchers found that exposure to the signal TGF-β causes changes in mouse tumor stem cells that help them evade a widely used anti-cancer drug. This did not happen to cells that did not receive TGF-β. More »

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