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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Backstage with a command performer

Some cells sing with the chorus, while others unwittingly achieve fame on their own. The immune system’s B cell is a true diva that spends its early days preparing for the ultimate audition. Its repertoire of possible antibodies to invading microbes totals 50 million. For the immune system, this repertoire means the difference between destroying a potentially lethal antigen or not. More »

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Obesity not a personal failing, says leptin discoverer Jeffrey Friedman, but a battle against biology

Leptin discoverer Jeffrey M. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., argues in a “Viewpoint” article in a special obesity issue of the journal Science published Feb. 7 that obesity cannot be easily explained as simply a breakdown in willpower. Genes and environment, explains the Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher, both play important roles in determining a person’s body weight. More »

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Young plant’s natural defenses amount to more than just its seed

An infant plant sleeps peacefully within its seed, entirely shielded from drought and other harsh conditions that might otherwise threaten its well-being. When the time comes at last to wake up and stretch its budding leaves, the young seedling must do so very carefully; once it decides to enter the unpredictable world outside, there’s no turning back to the safe haven of the seed. More »

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Rockefeller University Names Sir Paul Nurse President

The Rockefeller University announced today that its Board of Trustees has elected Sir Paul Nurse, Ph.D., as the ninth President of the university. More »

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Hardworking sodium/ potassium pump fundamentally similar to free-flowing ion channel

Right now, in your body, tiny pumps in the fatty membranes surrounding all your cells are hard at work pushing select charged ions, such as sodium, potassium or calcium, through those membranes. Like a water pump in a high-rise apartment building overcoming the force of gravity to move water up to a tank on its roof, these ion pumps work against “electrochemical gradients” to transport ions from one side of the membrane to the other. More »

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Observing Proteins and Cells in the Wild

Imagine if molecular and cell biologists could watch proteins and cells at work in their natural habitat in the same way that wildlife biologists observe animals in the wild. They’d sit back and witness firsthand their microscopic subjects’ daily routines, interactions and movements, and the places they prefer to be. More »

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