Obese mice provide clues to natural system that puts brakes on obesity

A gene that gets switched on only in the fat cells of obese mice may be a key to preventing obesity in humans, according to new research at The Rockefeller University in New York City and the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. More »

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From creatures of the dark to photosynthesizing green beings

A plant born into darkness, underneath a blanket of soil and leaves, will grow long and thin, its spindly stem stretching up towards the hidden sun. When at last it reaches the light, the plant will sprout green leaves, thicken its stem and begin to breathe – a coordinated effort involving the switching on of hundreds of genes. More »

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Genetic clues to stem cells’ unlimited potential

As an embryologist, Ali H. Brivanlou wants to know every genetic route taken by a small mass of undifferentiated, or unformed, embryonic cells as they develop into an organism. More »

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New clues to schizophrenia come from mice, humans

Improper signaling by a brain enzyme called calcineurin may contribute to the development of schizophrenia, according to new research by scientists at The Rockefeller University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University. More »

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Cellular transport vehicles caught on film

They look like soccer balls — only much smaller. They are tiny transport vehicles used by cells to import biological cargo and, for the first time, Rockefeller University researchers have caught them on film swimming across the surface of cells. More »

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“Bacteria-eating” viruses may spread some infectious diseases

A strep-infected child in a daycare center plays with a toy, puts it in her mouth and crawls away. Another child plays with the same toy and comes down with strep. More »

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Sperm cells shaped by natural cell suicide mechanism

Since discovering that body cells actively commit suicide over 35 years ago, scientists have come to learn that this natural process, called programmed cell death, occurs throughout human tissues, millions of times a day, to eliminate potentially harmful cells, such as those behind cancer. More »

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Frog (and histone) tails tell the tale

Using laboratory cultures of human leukemia cells and the tails of tadpoles, a Rockefeller University researcher has shown that specialized proteins in the cell nucleus contain chemical flags that provide a “code” that spells death. More »

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MacKinnon lab’s newest picture tells action potential story

Scientists studying the tiny devices — called voltage-dependent ion channels — that are responsible for all nerve and muscle signals in living organisms for 50 years have been working like a bunch of blindfolded art critics. More »

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“Smartness’ about social life is different from smartness about SAT scores”

What do the brain, ovaries and nose have in common? According to new research from The Rockefeller University, these three organs help orchestrate the complex behavior called social recognition in female mice through the interaction of four genes. More »

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New test for drug and alcohol addiction focuses solely on time of heaviest use

A new survey can quickly test for addiction to cocaine, heroin and alcohol simply by asking about the time in the person’s life when he or she was drinking or using these substances the most, according to a study by Rockefeller University researchers. More »

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Food traffic

Ever since Charles Darwin wrote one of the first descriptions of a food web — outlining who eats whom — in 1838, biologists such as Rockefeller scientist Joel E. Cohen, Ph.D., Dr.P.H., have been studying patterns of ecological communities of species living together. In these ecological communities, big animals usually eat smaller animals, and small animals typically eat still smaller animals or plants (which are consumed by some big animals, too). Moreover, large predators tend to be rarer than small prey species. More »

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“Stressed out” by living and working in NYC?

Car alarms. Traffic jams. Job layoffs. These almost daily events are among the reasons that New Yorkers often feel stressed out. But while many people can identify what triggers their stress, they may not understand how it affects their bodies and what they should do to cope. Answers to these and other questions will be discussed by experts at a public lecture titled “Stress: A New York State of Mind,” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 29, in Rockefeller University’s Caspary Auditorium (York Avenue at East 66th Street). More »

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Gairdner Prize honors Rockefeller scientist Ralph Steinman, M.D.

For the critical discovery of the immune system’s sentinel dendritic cells, and for demonstrating that science can fruitfully harness the power of these cells and other components of the immune system to curb infections and other communicable diseases, Professor Ralph Steinman, M.D., shares the 2003 Gairdner Foundation International Award, announced Tuesday, April 8, in Toronto. More »

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First images of protein export in cells illuminate structural “highways” called microtubules as sole conduits of protein cargo

For the first time, scientists have viewed — and recorded on camera — the final pathway followed by a protein as it exits the body cell that created it. Once released from a cell, a protein is free to perform its duties as a neurotransmitter, hormone, cell surface receptor, or one of the many other “work horses” that function outside of body cells every second of the day. More »

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The protein’s in the mail

A busy urban post office daily sorts thousands of letters and parcels, guiding each to a particular mailbox somewhere in the city. Each day, every cell of the human body manufactures millions of proteins which it also must continually sort and route to their final destinations within the cell. Only when a protein has reached its destination can it do its assigned work. More »

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Rockefeller scientists identify “natural” proteins that push stem cells to produce hair instead of skinRockefeller scientists identify “natural” proteins that push stem cells to produce hair instead of skin

The clearest picture to date of how two proteins determine the destiny of a stem cell that is genetically programmed to develop into either hair or skin epidermis is emerging with mouse embryos as models for human biology from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Rockefeller University. The scientists’ latest results are reported in this week’s (March 20) issue of the journal Nature. More »

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Link found between estrogen, changes in brain structure, and learning and memory

Scientists at Rockefeller University have discovered how estrogen initiates physical changes in rodent brain cells that lead to increased learning and memory — a finding, the researchers contend, that illustrates the likely value of the hormone to peak brain functioning in women. More »

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Rockefeller researchers identify new mechanism that ensures accurate partitioning of genetic material in dividing cells

Every minute, the human body replaces 300 million of its dying cells with new ones through the vital biological process known as cell division. When dividing and multiplying, a “parent” cell must segregate with exquisite precision each of its 46 chromosomes so that two “daughter” cells inherit all of its genetic information. More »

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Researchers unearth unusual enzyme lacking genetic code

Since their fiery beginnings on earth over three billion years ago, bacteria have evolved some unusual strategies for dealing with the problems of life, a kind of odd bag of tricks specialized for survival. The most recent idiosyncrasy to surface, which was discovered by Rockefeller researchers, is an essential protein lacking a genetic code. More »

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