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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Search for cholesterol absorption genes narrows to two chromosome regions

Two people eat the same egg, cheese and ham muffin for breakfast, yet one absorbs significantly more cholesterol into his or her blood than the other. Why? More »

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First quantum dots applied to living organism

Quantum dots are nano-sized crystals that exhibit all the colors of the rainbow due to their unique semiconductor qualities. These exquisitely small, human-made beacons have the power to shine their fluorescent light for months, even years. But in the near-decade since they were first readily produced, quantum dots have excluded themselves from the useful purview of biology. Now, for the first time, this flexible tool has been refined, and delivered to the hands of biologists. More »

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“Outlaw” organism turns informant

In a critical scene in the film remake of the classic 1960s TV series “The Fugitive,” actor Harrison Ford sheds his coat and replaces it with another. This simple deception allows him to escape detection by the swarm of police officers trailing him. More »

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Noise inner life cells

Within the smoothly operating factory that is the cell, tiny molecular machines carry out their tasks with order and certainty. Or at least that’s what many scientists once believed. More »

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Wrong Proteins Targeted in Battle Against Cancer?

Researchers may be looking for novel cancer drugs in the wrong places, says Rockefeller University Professor James E. Darnell Jr., M.D., in an article in this month’s Nature Reviews Cancer. More »

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“CAF” protein mystery solved by AIDS researchers

Acclaimed AIDS researcher David Ho, M.D., a Rockefeller University Irene Diamond Professor who heads the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC), and his research team, have discovered that several natural proteins -alpha-defensins 1, 2 and 3 – can be manufactured and released by killer T cells to inhibit HIV. More »

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Lasker Award Honors Rockefeller University’s James Darnell

James E. Darnell Jr., M.D., the pioneering researcher in the field of gene regulation — who has nurtured the careers of over 100 young, talented scientists — was honored today with the 2002 Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science. More »

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One gene, two important proteins

When the Human Genome Project first revealed last year that humans possess only an estimated 30,000 genes — fives times more than a mustard weed plant — the fact that many of our genes code for more than just one protein assumed greater importance. Such protein variations, researchers reasoned, must play an even larger role than previously thought in contributing to the remarkable complexity of human beings. More »

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Rockefeller researchers provide the first functional evidence for mammalian pheromone receptors

Pheromones — chemical signals that influence social and reproductive behaviors — have been studied since the 1950s, but the molecules in the mammalian nervous system that actually detect pheromones have remained elusive. More »

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Dinosaur ancestor’s vision possibly nocturnal

Call it “Triassic Park”: with statistics, instead of amber-preserved DNA, researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at The Rockefeller University and Yale University recreated in the test tube a functional pigment that would have characterized the eyes of archosaurs (“ruling reptiles”) and allowed these direct ancestors to dinosaurs to see in dim light. More »

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Natural-born killers enlisted to fight anthrax

Researchers at The Rockefeller University have hit upon a promising method for rapidly and effectively treating people infected with the deadly anthrax bacterium — including feared drug – resistant strains. The new research, reported in the August 22 issue of Nature, takes advantage of anthrax’s number one natural enemy: bateriophage, or “bacteria – eating” viruses. More »

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Pivotal Brain Processor Decreased in Schizophrenia

New York, NY (August 14, 2002) — Levels of a pivotal signal processor in the brain are reduced significantly in people with schizophrenia, a study by scientists at The Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Medical College and University of California at Irvine has found. More »

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What inspires yeast cells to divide?

Often in science a novel set of experiments comes along that forces researchers to abandon old models in exchange for new ones that better fit their observations. This is the case in a new Nature report by Rockefeller University researchers, which finds that past models of cellular division in the simple yeast organism were focused on the wrong protein. More »

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