Understanding ubiquitylation: Researchers identify a process that enables access to genes

Activating a gene requires a host of proteins to work in tandem to pry open DNA’s protective chromatin shell, formed by complexes of DNA and special packaging proteins called histones. New research identifies a key step in the mechanism that unpackages DNA. More »

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New glimpse into early brain development shows how nerve cells move into position

By pinning down how cells in the brain’s cerebellum migrate and differentiate during the first stages of brain development, researchers show that different combinations of regulatory proteins called transcription factors are responsible for driving these changes. More »

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Immune response to cancer stem cells may dictate cancer’s course

About three percent of adults over 40 test positive for a condition known as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or MGUS, which sometimes progresses to multiple myeloma. But new research suggests that MGUS patients who naturally develop an immune response to an embryonic stem cell protein, called SOX2, appear to be protected from developing the blood cancer. More »

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Humans, flies smell alike, neurobiologists find

While it would seem that how a fruit fly judges odors should differ from how a human smells, new research from Rockefeller University finds that at the neurobiological level, the two organisms have more in common than one might expect. More »

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Viral protein is an effective preventative against infection

For parents, eight million cases of acute middle-ear infections every year add up to a lot of sleepless nights and trips to the pediatrician. But new research suggests that a lysin – a protein derived from viruses that infect bacteria – may prevent children from developing secondary ear infections. More »

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Chemical cues turn embryonic stem cells into cerebellar neurons

vIn order to differentiate and specialize, stem cells require very specific environmental cues in a very specific order, and scientists have so far been unable to prod them to go through each of the necessary steps. But now, for the first time, a study in mice shows that embryonic stem cells implanted in the brain appear to develop into fully differentiated granule neurons, the most plentiful neuron in the cerebellum. More »

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For dying cells, timing is everything

Conventional wisdom suggests that cells are at all times balanced precariously between life and death, with proteins that could kill the cell poised to strike at a moment’s notice. While this is certainly true in some cases, new research from Rockefeller University shows that it is not universal, and that several layers of regulation control cell death. More »

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Rockefller donated $10,000 to public school

The money is designated for the school’s science program and will be used to purchase equipment and supplies and pay for other costs associated with teaching science to children in grades K through five. More »

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New therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s could lead to drugs without side effects

Findings, based on studies in mammalian cells, show that chemicals that block casein kinase 1, a key component of the pathway that leads Alzheimer’s disease, don’t interfere with a closely connected essential pathway. More »

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Kety protein for Hepatitis C entry identified

For as many as 200 million people worldwide infected with hepatitis C, a leading cause of chronic liver disease, treatment options are only partially effective. But new research by Rockefeller University scientists points to a potential new target for better drugs: a key protein that resides in human liver cells that hepatitis C requires for entry. More »

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Sex hormone signaling helps burn calories

Any dieter can tell you: Body weight is a function of how much food you eat and how much energy you use. The trick to maintaining a healthy weight lies in regulating the balance. But new research from Rockefeller University suggests that brain cell receptors linked to sex hormones may play a role in the process by which we maintain that balance. More »

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DNA barcoding uncovers likely new species of birds and bats

In the first effort to ever “barcode” species on a continental scale, scientists have completed a pilot study of U.S. and Canadian birds that suggests that 15 new genetically distant species have been overlooked in centuries of bird studies. The research validates DNA “barcoding” as an efficient means of identifying species based on just a tiny sample of biological material, and it has implications for environmental research as well as for reducing contamination in our food supply and preventing collisions between aircraft and birds. More »

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Rockefelller, with 42 other institutions, to create regional academic job bank

A Web-based search engine launched today includes listings for all faculty and staff jobs at all member institutions and is available at no charge to anyone seeking employment in higher education. More »

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Single gene may defend bacteria from antibiotics and infection

Bacteria have two major enemies: antibiotic drugs and bacteriophage viruses, which infect and kill them. The two disparate threats may have something in common. New research from Rockefeller University has found that certain bacteria have gained a gene that protects them from both toxic drugs and infectious viruses at the same time. More »

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An ancient retrovirus is resurrected

Researchers studying extinct retroviruses — distant relatives of HIV — don’t use the traditional tools of paleontologists, but instead need look only as far as our own DNA. Humans have a number of defunct retroviruses deposited in our DNA, and now scientists have brought one of them back to life. More »

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Phospholipids in the cell membrane help regulate ion channels

Though the cell membrane is a protective barrier, it also plays a role in letting some foreign material in — via ion channels that dot the cell’s surface. Now new research from the Nobel Prize-winning laboratory that first solved the atomic structure of several such channels shows that their function is controlled in part by a complex interaction between a channel’s voltage sensor and the cell membrane immediately adjacent to it. More »

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A chemotherapy drug packs a one-two punch

How cancer cells are killed could turn out to be an important element in activating a patient’s immune system. A new study shows that one chemotherapy drug may kill tumor cells in such a way that the immune system can recognize the cancerous cells and help fight the disease more effectively. More »

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New Fanconi anemia gene ID’d

An international team of researchers has uncovered the 13th gene to be associated with Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disease linked to several types of cancer. The identification of the gene helps explain why some young patients develop early and lethal cancer, and also why relatives of these patients develop cancer in adulthood. More »

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Chromosome linked to cholesterol absorption

Using strains of mice that only differ from each other on a small area of one chromosome, researchers identify two sets of genes important for cholesterol absorption and excretion — the balance of which is a key contributor to coronary heart disease susceptibility. More »

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Scientists clone mice from adult skin stem cells

The potential of stem cells has so far gone largely untapped, despite the great promise that stem cells hold. But new research from Rockefeller University now shows that adult stem cells taken from skin can be used to clone mice using a procedure called nuclear transfer. More »

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