Category Archives: Science News
Antibody 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 »
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.
The 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 »
Research on the genetic roots of a blood disorder illustrates the challenges in parsing genetic data
Does 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 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 »
Biophysicists 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 »
A 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 »
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 »
Rockefeller 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 »
New 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.
Researchers 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.
Experiments 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 »
Only 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 »
In 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 »
Both 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 »
Researchers 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 »
The enzyme Cas9 is well known for its ability to make precise cuts in a genome. New research reveals a new role for Cas9 in its native bacteria: helping the microbial immune system acquire a memory of an invading virus. More »