Category Archives: Science News
In the race for better treatments and possible cures, rare diseases are often left behind. In a collaboration of researchers at The Rockefeller University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the New York Genome Center, an unusual mutation has been found that is strongly linked to one such disease: a rare liver cancer that affects teens and young adults. More »
Researchers used a genome editing technique to engineer a mutant version of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads yellow fever. The mutant was unable to detect carbon dioxide, and studies showed that this hindered its ability to detect a host, even in the presence of other sensory cues like heat and odor. The results can help inform the design of chemical repellents to block host-seeking behavior in both Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae, which spreads malaria. More »
Two immune system molecules — interleukin-17 and tumor necrosis factor — are increased in psoriasis, leading the immune system to attack a person’s own skin cells. Scientists found that these molecules disrupt the pigment production of patients’ melanocytes, and are responsible for the dark spots that psoriasis leaves behind. The results could bring about new treatments for pigmentation changes in this and other skin conditions such as eczema and acne. More »
Researchers have developed a statistical method for genetic screens that improves the classic genome-wide association screen, and, applying to autism, have uncovered genes related to the disorder that had not been suggested in previous analyses. The scientists offer evidence that beginning treatment in infants at the first symptoms could change the course of the disease, possibly preventing the permanent “pruning” of neurons, which occurs during the first two years of life, from cementing autistic symptoms in place. More »
The technique, created by scientists in Rockefeller’s Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, attaches short pieces of RNA to highly concentrated viruses and uses ultrasound to inject the viruses into mouse embryos. It takes a fraction of the resources and much less time than using knockout mice to conduct genetic screens, and can assess about 300 genes in a single mouse in as little as five weeks. More »
Although many participants gave high marks to the research teams’ trustworthiness and ability to explain their protocols, the survey also revealed that a sizable minority did not feel completely prepared for the study. The results suggest aspects of the participant experience that researchers may be able to address. More »
Jean-Laurent Casanova, head of the Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases, and colleagues at Necker Medical School in Paris have discovered a genetic deficiency that in rare cases allows the dermatophyte fungus, which causes ringworm, to spread below the skin’s surface and onto the lymph nodes, bones, digestive tract and even the brain. More »
Rockefeller scientists revealed the first genome-wide RNA interference screen of a mouse, using a new technique that essentially treats the surface of living mouse embryos as a petri dish of cells, allowing for in vivo analysis. More »
A collaboration between Elaine Fuch’s Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development at Rockefeller University and researchers at Duke University and the University of California, San Francisco, found that blocking a molecule called TRPV4 greatly protects against the painful effects of sunburn. The research could yield a way to combat sunburn and possibly several other causes of pain. More »
A collaboration between researchers in Hermann Steller’s Strang Laboratory of Apoptosis and Cancer Biology and Elaine Fuchs’s Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development has revealed a new function for a gene previously shown to prevent stem cells from turning cancerous. The gene, Sept4/ARTS, has now been shown to regulate programmed death in skin stem cells, a finding that may have implications for wound healing, regeneration and cancer. More »
Scientists in Leslie Vosshall’s Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller used a genetically modified mosquito to show that a specific gene called orco gives the insects a strong preference for humans over other mammals, and that the insect repellant DEET uses this pathway to deter mosquitoes from biting. More »
Researchers at The Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have identified the mechanism by which the cell’s protein recycler, the proteasome, ramps up its activity to take care of unwanted and potentially toxic proteins. The finding, which has implications for treating muscle wasting and neurodegeneration, also suggests that small molecule inhibitors of this mechanism may be clinically useful in treating multiple myeloma. More »
An international team of scientists led by Rockefeller University researchers has identified the defective gene responsible for a rare disorder in which children are born without a spleen, which makes them susceptible to life-threatening bacterial infections early in life. The findings may lead to new diagnostic tests and raises new questions about the role of this gene in the body’s protein-making machinery.
Scientists at Rockefeller University and Astex Pharmaceuticals have discovered a new broad range antibiotic that kills a wide range of bacteria, including drug-resistant Staphylococcus (MRSA) bacteria that do not respond to traditional drugs, in mice. The antibiotic, Epimerox, targets weaknesses in bacteria that have long been exploited by viruses that attack them, known as phage.
Scientists in David Allis’s laboratory have shown how a mutated histone protein inhibits an enzyme, which normally keeps cell growth in check, and causes a rare form of pediatric brain cancer called DIPG. Their findings reveal a mechanism for inhibiting enzymes and could lead to the development of pharmaceuticals that mimic the action of these mutant proteins.
Researchers at Rockefeller University, along with colleagues at Necker Hospital for Sick Children and the Pasteur Institute in Paris and Ben-Gurion University in Israel, have generated the full set of distances, routes and degrees of separation between any two human genes, creating a map of gene “shortcuts” that aims to simplify the hunt for disease-causing genes in monogenic diseases. More »
Researchers in Elaine Fuchs’ Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development have elucidated how adult stem cells in hair follicles communicate with each other and what keeps them silent for prolonged periods of time. More »
Daniel Kronauer and his colleagues at University of Paris 13 have found that when Cerapachys biroi ants execute their fellow colony-members for laying eggs when they shouldn’t, it’s not because of a fight for reproductive dominance, as some had thought. More »
Researchers led by Rockefeller’s Jesse Ausubel analyzed factors such as global land use and population growth over the last 50 years. Looking at the production index of all crops of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, they found that from 1961 to 2009 land farmed grew by only 12 percent while the index rose about 300 percent.