Three-D images shed light on first steps of RNA synthesis

The first three-dimensional images of the initiating form of the molecular machinery in bacteria that “transcribes” genetic information from DNA into RNA — the crucial first step for making proteins — is reported in a pair of papers in the May 17 issue of the journal Science. More »

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More Than Just Packaging, Histones Help Turn Genes On

Histones, the proteins that help roll several feet of DNA into the microscopic span of a single nucleus, are turning out to be much more than just packaging material. Instead, recent studies indicate that these once underrated proteins actively participate in switching genes “on” — a vital life process occurring at all times in each one of our cells. More »

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“Good Citizens” in the Immune System Carry Out State’s Orders

The difference between good and evil matters as much in the immune system, it turns out, as it does to humankind. The problem is understanding how the immune system’s cells perceive the difference. In the April 25 issue of the journal Nature, a team of researchers led by Rockefeller University immunologist Sasha Tarakhovsky, Ph.D. show that a single enzyme present in B cells may provide a major piece of the puzzle. More »

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Leprosy bug provides clues to early nerve degeneration

In the May 3 issue of Science, scientists at Rockefeller University and New York University School of Medicine report that the nerve damage that leads to a loss of sensation and disability of people with leprosy occurs in the early stages of infection. More »

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Nature’s Own Antidote to Cocaine

Some people’s brains may harbor their own built-in defense system against the addictive powers of cocaine. According to new research at The Rockefeller University, a naturally occurring brain opiate called dynorphin may, in certain individuals, serve as an antidote to counter the pleasurable, yet dangerous, effects of cocaine. More »

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Rockefeller University Announces Scholarship Fund in Name of Employee Who Died at World Trade Center

Rockefeller University’s Acting President Thomas P. Sakmar, M.D., announced today the establishment of the Shaheed Mohammed Salman Hamdani Memorial Fund, named for the 23-year-old research technician who died while responding to the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. More »

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How Aging Cells Retire

As we grow older, our hair turns gray, our bones grow thin and, among other changes, our telomeres shrink. But, more than markers of the passage of time, telomeres, the tips of chromosomes, may harbor answers to the fundamental mechanisms of aging and cancer. More »

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Oliver Sacks, Awakenings Author, Receives Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize

Oliver Sacks, author of the best-selling book Awakenings, which was the basis for a movie of the same name starring Robin Williams and Robert de Niro, received The Rockefeller University’s 2001 Lewis Thomas Prize on Monday, March 18, in the university’s Caspary Auditorium. The prize, “Honoring the Scientist as Poet,” has been awarded annually since 1993 to a writer who is accomplished in the realms of both science and literature. More »

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Schizophrenia Predisposition Linked to Two Genes on Chromosome 22

In a systematic study of 13 genes on human chromosome 22 in an area of the chromosome previously linked to schizophrenia, a team of scientists in the United States and South Africa identified two genes from this group that contribute to susceptibility to this psychiatric disorder. More »

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Mouse Model of Diabetes Shows Synergy of Multiple Genes in Failure of Insulin-Secreting Cells

Researchers at The Rockefeller University and the Vanderbilt Medical Center have shown for the first time in a mouse model that genes predisposing for Type 2 diabetes interact in a hierarchical manner and have identified a potential drug target from these genes. More »

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Researchers Pinpoint How Estrogen Prevents Alzheimer’s “Senile Plaques”

Estrogen prevents the build-up of Alzheimer’s disease’s “senile plaques” in the brain by scooting key proteins through their normal pathways before they can form the debilitating plaques. More »

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Rockefeller University Appoints Thomas P. Sakmar Acting President

The Board of Trustees of The Rockefeller University today named Thomas P. Sakmar, M.D., to serve as acting president of the university. More »

“Sugar-Coating” on Proteins May Safeguard Body Against Further Insult

Much like a cadre of emergency workers at the scene of an accident, the body’s immune system cells gather at the site of an injury, whether it is a simple cut or an infection. This microscopic crowd largely consists of inflammatory cells and proteins, and together they marshal the immune system’s arsenal to bring the offending stimulus under control. More »

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Superbug Update: Only a few families of Staphylococci cause most drug-resistant diseases in hospitals worldwide

The culprits behind antibiotic-resistant diseases now plaguing hospitals worldwide have been harboring a secret — one that Rockefeller scientists have recently exposed. It seems these infectious microbes termed Staphylococcus aureus are not independent criminals working alone. Rather, they are members of only a few massive “superbug” families, which have spread out and conquered the globe. More »

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More Studies Shed Light on How Prozac Works

Nobel laureate Paul Greengard, Ph.D., and other Rockefeller University scientists have illuminated, in laboratory mice, new details of the complex chemical interaction in the brain that is generated by Prozac, the widely prescribed drug for depression. More »

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Cells on the Verge of Suicide

A developing cell in the human body sits on the edge of death. Proteins called Grim, Reaper and Hid stand poised, ready to unleash other toxic proteins. Only if a protein messenger from another cell arrives in time to call off the killing, will the cell then mature into any one of the various types of body cells, such as skin, liver and brain. More »

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Tidying Up Transcription Factors

Fifty years ago, in the early days of biology, so little was known about the cell that all of the proteins outside of its nucleus were grouped into one big “cytoplasmic soup.” Now, as the list of known cellular ingredients continues to expand beyond the capacity of any recipe card, two Rockefeller University scientists are taking a step back to ask whether there might be a better way to organize the current thinking about a particularly important class of proteins inherent to all living cells. More »

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Pioneering Genome Analysis Reveals the Genes Responsible for Pheromonal Communication Among Rodents

Rockefeller University scientists report that the way mice communicate with each other is far more complex — and has a more elaborate evolutionary history — than imagined. More »

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Another Transmembrane Protein Structure Solved by Rockefeller Scientists

“Why did nature come up with such a structural plan?” ask Rockefeller University professor Roderick MacKinnon and colleagues in their Jan. 17 Nature cover article describing the three-dimensional structure of a type of chloride channel called the ClC. More »

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Malignant Cells Survive-and Replicate-Because Cancer-causing Molecule Jams Normal p53 Cell-suicide Trigger

A cancer-causing molecule called WISP-1 may explain why some people with cancer do not benefit from chemotherapy while others with the same form of cancer respond to the treatment, according to researchers at The Rockefeller University. The findings, reported in the Jan. 1 issue of Genes and Development, suggest that drugs designed to block WISP-1 may increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy in colon cancer and perhaps other cancers. More »

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