Category Archives: Science News

A newly discovered form of immunity helps explain how bacteria fight off viruses

A newly discovered form of immunity helps explain how bacteria fight off virusesScientists have discovered an immune-defense mechanism in bacteria that allows these microorganisms to respond to viral infections with remarkable precision. Their findings could have implications for the development of new therapies against infectious diseases. More »

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Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune systemScientists have captured atomic images of the virus that causes cold sores in action. Structural details reveal that the virus inserts itself into another protein, jamming an important immune system pathway that normally allows immune cells to recognize and destroy foreign invaders. More »

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The neurons in our gut help the immune system keep inflammation in check

The neurons in our gut help the immune system keep inflammation in check The immune system must protect against potential infections, but over-vigilant reactions can cause problems. New research from Rockefeller shows that neurons in the intestine send signals to immune cells to curb inflammation. More »

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New findings challenge popular explanation for why a social insect becomes a worker or queen

New findings challenge popular explanation for why a social insect becomes a worker or queenMany scientists have come to believe that DNA methylation, a mode of genetic regulation in which chemical tags turn genes on or off, is involved in determining an insect’s caste. However, a new study of ants finds no evidence to support this role for methylation. More »

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Study identifies signals that make early stem cells

Study identifies signals that make early stem cellsWhere and when do stem cells first appear during development? Researchers investigated this question by examining how cells organize as the hair follicle first appears in mouse embryos. They uncovered signaling pathways that may provide insights into some skin cancers. More »

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Researchers develop gene-filtering tool to identify disease-causing mutations

Genes that are frequently mutated in the general population are unlikely to cause disease, because variations of these genes are often found in healthy people. A new tool from researchers at Rockefeller uses this concept to help scientists identify the mutations in genes that matter. More »

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Newly discovered windows of brain plasticity may help with treatment of stress-related disorders

Newly discovered windows of brain plasticity may help with treatment of stress-related disordersEven under repeated stress, the brain maintains the potential to adapt and recover. Researchers have shown how changes in gene expression cause these transitory opportunities to open up. Their results suggest well-timed treatment could change the trajectory of a brain suffering from depression or other disorder. More »

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Study links epigenetic processes to the development of the cerebellar circuitry

Study links epigenetic processes to the development of the cerebellar circuitryResearchers have, for the first time, described the pivotal changes responsible for controlling the formation of the part of the brain that allows us to learn and execute complex movements. These changes involve modifications to chromatin, which is DNA packaged with protein. More »

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Experiments explain the events behind molecular ‘bomb’ seen in cancer cells

Experiments explain the events behind molecular ‘bomb’ seen in cancer cellsSometimes, in cancer cells, a part of a chromosome looks like it has been pulverized, then put back together incorrectly, leading to multiple mutations. New research from The Rockefeller University describes the cellular events leading to this molecular explosion, which serves as a precursor to cancer. More »

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New research explores how the fly brain reroutes odor information to produce flexible behavior

New research explores how the fly brain reroutes odor information to produce flexible behaviorTaking advantage of the simple architecture of the fruit fly brain, scientists examined how the molecule dopamine acts like an operator at a switchboard, changing the flow of information. Their work helps explain why the same stimulus can lead to different responses, and quite likely has parallels in the human brain. More »

Widespread skewed expression of mRNA components correlate with fine tuning of protein production

Widespread skewed expression of mRNA components correlate with fine tuning of protein productionIn numerous tissues and genes, the researchers found lopsided ratios in two parts of mRNA transcripts of genes, one of which carries the code for a protein and one that doesn’t. They suspect some of these skewed ratios may help control protein production, particularly in the embryo, but also in the adult. More »

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Mosquitoes are tuned to seek out temperatures that match warm-blooded hosts

Mosquitoes are tuned to seek out temperatures that match warm-blooded hostsResearchers have described a process that allows the insects to distinguish between temperatures with high precision to find their prey. Studies like this one may help generate better repellents, traps, and other ways to control mosquitoes. More »

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Researchers discover new aspect of gene regulation and a possible target for cancer drugs

Researchers discover new aspect of gene regulation and a possible target for future cancer drugsThe expression of about three-quarters of a cell’s active genes is controlled by a process in which the DNA-transcribing enzyme hesitates before going to work. Experiments have identified the complex of proteins that helps restart this enzyme when it stalls, and so helped to explain how some promising cancer drugs work. More »

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Study suggests new way to help the immune system fight off sleeping sickness parasite

Study suggests new way to help the immune system fight off sleeping sickness parasiteThere are currently few treatments for the disease, and those that exist have substantial side effects. A new study reveals a method, involving epigenetic mechanisms, that causes the African sleeping sickness parasite to change into a new state, potentially making it easier for the host immune system to eliminate it. More »

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New research helps to explain how temperature shifts the circadian clock

New research helps to explain how temperature shifts the circadian clockOne important aspect of the internal time-keeping system continues to perplex scientists: its complex response to temperature, which can shift the clock forward or backward, but cannot change its 24-hour period. New experiments help explain how this is possible. More »

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Study reveals new mechanism in nicotine addiction

Study reveals new mechanism in nicotine addictionTwo chemical signals, acetylcholine and glutamate, were known to act as part of the negative reward system that fuels craving, but it wasn’t clear how this happened. In new experiments, researchers have learned that one of these neurotransmitters, acetylcholine, regulates the other, glutamate, to reinforce nicotine dependence. More »

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A newly discovered signaling molecule helps neurons find their way in the developing brain

Commissural neurons in a mouse embryoIn the developing nervous system, some neurons must extend their branches to connect one half of the brain with the other. A new study sheds light on the molecular mechanisms that guide the winding paths of their axons. More »

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Mutations in key cancer protein suggest new route to treatments

Mutations in key cancer protein suggest new route to treatmentsResearchers found they could disrupt STAT3’s ability to act as a transcription factor and so contribute to the proliferation of cancerous cells, by altering a particular part of the protein. This accomplishment suggests a basis for new, targeted approaches to fighting cancer. More »

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DNA strands often “wiggle” as part of genetic repair

DNA strands often “wiggle” as part of genetic repairNew research indicates that every time a double-stranded break occurs in DNA strands, the damaged ends move about during repair. Scientists believe a better understanding of this mysterious mechanism could improve the use of cancer treatments, some of which manipulate DNA repair in malignant cells. More »

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Study reveals the architecture of the molecular machine that copies DNA

Study reveals the architecture of the molecular machine that copies DNAUntil now, the exact configuration of the replisome, a block of proteins that unzips the DNA helix and creates two duplicate helices, was unknown. After taking the first complete pictures of it, researchers were surprised to find the complex possesses a counterintuitive architecture, raising new questions about its functions. More »

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