Tag Archives: C. David Allis

David Allis, pioneer in epigenetics, to receive prestigious Japan Prize

Allis’s discovery that chemical “tags” bind to specific sections of histone proteins in order to activate or silence nearby genes has ignited the field of epigenetics, a relatively new area of study which explores the inheritance of physical changes that cannot be traced back to mutations in the DNA sequence. The Japan Prize, worth approximately half a million dollars, is among the most prestigious prizes in science. More »

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Mechanism of mutant histone protein in childhood brain cancer revealed

Scientists in David Allis’s laboratory have shown how a mutated histone protein inhibits an enzyme, which normally keeps cell growth in check, and causes a rare form of pediatric brain cancer called DIPG. Their findings reveal a mechanism for inhibiting enzymes and could lead to the development of pharmaceuticals that mimic the action of these mutant proteins.

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David Allis awarded $1 million grant from Starr Cancer Consortium

Allis leads one of five cancer research teams that are winners of $5 million in grant awards from The Starr Foundation’s Sixth Starr Cancer Consortium Grant Competition.
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Influenza “histone mimic” suppresses antiviral response

Researchers have discovered a novel mechanism by which influenza viruses hijack key regulators of the human body’s normal antiviral response in order to slip by it undetected. The results have major implications for our understanding of the biology of the seasonal influenza virus and suggest a possible target for a new class of antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs. More »

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Scientists identify protein that drives survival of gastrointestinal tumors

Since the introduction of Gleevec as a treatment for gastrointestinal stromal tumors, survival rates have climbed dramatically and recurrence has fallen by two-thirds. But over time, many patients develop resistance to the drug. Now, scientists at Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have identified a molecule that acts as a survival factor for gastrointestinal tumors, a finding that may lead to next-generation therapies that can pick up where Gleevec leaves off. More »

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Experiments decipher key piece of the ‘histone code’ in cell division

The division of one cell into two is one of the most basic processes of life. One of the many tricks involved is the segregation of copied chromosomes to opposite ends of the cell before it divides. New research details for the first time the role of an epigenetic modification to the proteins that package DNA in the fundamental biological phenomenon, known as mitosis. More »

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Scientists track variant of gene-regulating protein in embryonic stem cells

The path to fully developed cells from embryonic stem cells requires that the right genes are turned on and off at the right times. New research from Rockefeller University shows that tiny variations between gene-regulating histone proteins play an important role in determining how and when genes are read. The finding shows that each region of the genome may be even more specialized than previously expected and may open a new avenue of investigation regarding the mysterious causes of the human genetic disease known as ATR-X syndrome. More »

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Loss of epigenetic regulators causes mental retardation

New findings, published in recent issues of Neuron and Science, indicate that malfunction of a protein complex that normally suppresses gene activation causes mental retardation in mice and humans and may even play a role in promoting susceptibility to drug addiction. More »

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Misreading of histone code linked to human cancer

The development of blood from stem cell to fully formed blood cell follows a genetically determined program. When it doesn’t work properly, genetic mutations can cause the developing cells to turn cancerous. In research published in the journal Nature, Rockefeller University scientists show for the first time that a misreading of blood cells’ histone code is responsible for acute myeloid leukemia, a rare form of the deadly blood cancer. More »


Scientists confirm a molecular clipping mechanism behind stem cell development

Some genes are regulated through a process by which proteins in the cell nucleus, called histones, are chemically modified by small “chemical marks.” New research from Rockefeller University scientists shows that during specific stages of differentiation in mouse embryonic stem cells, crucial marks can be removed by cutting off the end of the histone’s tail. More »

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David Allis to receive Gairdner Award

Allis, who studies DNA-packaging proteins called histones, is one of five scientists to be honored by the Gairdner Foundation for “fundamental discoveries that will have impact on human genetic development, cancer and other diseases.” More »

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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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Trash talk: Molecular conversations trigger cell suicide in yeast

For cells, like people, relationships are based on good communication. In yeast cells, however, scientists have shown that communication between certain molecules involved in gene regulation can trigger the cell’s suicide program, suggesting that molecular “crosstalk” may be an important mechanism by which cells respond to adverse events like cancer. More »

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Two Rockefeller scientists elected to National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences announced the election of 72 new members this morning, including two Rockefeller University scientists. More »

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Silencing human gene through new science of epigenetics; Gene associated with human development—and cancer

For the first time, scientists have shown how the activity of a gene associated with normal human development, as well as the occurrence of cancer and several other diseases, is repressed epigenetically — by modifying not the DNA code of a gene, but instead the spool-like histone proteins around which DNA tightly wraps itself in the nucleus of cells in the body. More »

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New science of “epigenetics” advanced by findings reported in Molecular Cell

Scientists have known that some physical changes that are passed on to the next generation can’t be attributed to mutations in DNA alone. Thus a relatively new field of research — epigenetics — has emerged to investigate the inheritance of physical changes that cannot be traced back to mutations in the DNA sequence. More »

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Silence of the genes

In addition to nails and screws, a carpenter’s bag of tricks includes glue. Nails can be pulled, screws can be removed, but glue is typically permanent.

Nature uses its own version of glue to jam a gene’s expression when its activity could somehow disrupt the body’s functioning. For example, nature’s “glue” silences one of the two copies of the X chromosome that female mammals carry in their body cells during early development to ensure that the embryo doesn’t get double doses of the same genes. Recent scientific evidence suggests that “gluing” or compacting mechanisms in the cell’s nucleus might control the activity of large regions of the genome. More »

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Rockefeller University researchers identify protein modules that “read” distinct gene “silencing codes”

Since the time when humans first learned to record their thoughts in written form, codes have kept sensitive information from prying eyes. But conveying information through a code requires someone who can read it as well as write it. The same is true for one of nature’s methods for transmitting information that activates or silences a gene: the “histone code.” 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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