Correspondence of Francis Crick that had been thought destroyed were recently found among papers of one his correspondents. They reveal personal details of the struggle – and the competition – to reveal the structure and mechanism of DNA. The New York Times has published a piece on them, and an article was released by NATURE Wednesday Sept. 29.
Oxidative stress has long been suspected to play a role in tissue damage after stroke, but no study has ever clearly demonstrated a link between the two. Now a group of researchers representing ten institutions and four countries describe a new potential therapeutic target for acute stroke in the latest issue of PLoS Biology.
Friday Lecture Series
Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Salty and Umami: The Receptors, Cells and Coding Logic for Mammalian Taste
Charles Zuker, Ph.D.
professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and of neuroscience,
October 1, 2010
3:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:15 p.m., Abby Lounge)
Chandrashekar, J., Kuhn, C., Oka, Y., Yarmolinsky, D. A., Hummler, E., Ryba, N. J. P., et al. (2010). The cells and peripheral representation of sodium taste in mice. Nature, 464(7286), 297-301.
Yarmolinsky, D. A., Zuker, C. S., & Ryba, N. J. P. (2009). Common sense about taste: From mammals to insects. Cell, 139(2), 234-244.
Mueller, K. L., Hoon, M. A., Erlenbach, I., Chandrashekar, J., Zuker, C. S., & Ryba, N. J. P. (2005). The receptors and coding logic for bitter taste. Nature, 434(7030), 225-229.
Zhao, G. Q., Zhang, Y., Hoon, M. A., Chandrashekar, J., Erlenbach, I., Ryba, N. J. P., et al. (2003). The receptors for mammalian sweet and umami taste. Cell, 115(3), 255-266.
Nelson, G., Hoon, M. A., Chandrashekar, J., Zhang, Y., Ryba, N. J. P., & Zuker, C. S. (2001). Mammalian sweet taste receptors. Cell, 106(3), 381-390.
Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have solved a long-standing mystery of how cells conduct “quality control” to eliminate the toxic effects of a certain kind of error in protein production. The findings may lead to a better understanding of a host of neurodegenerative diseases. The new study, published by NATURE online recently, suggests how cells in eukaryotic organisms, like humans, sense and destroy “non-stop” proteins that remain stuck in the ribosome, the protein manufacturing plant of the cell.
Rearchers at Stanford University have found a way to move muscles with pulses of light. The study, published in Nature Medicine, describes what the researchers are calling “optogenetics” — a technology which uses light-sensitive proteins from a single-celled alga placed on the nerve and pulses of light to trigger muscle movement. The researchers insert the gene for a protein called channelrhodopsin-2, which comes from green algae. Then when the neuron implanted with the gene is exposed to blue light, the protein starts a chain of electrical activity inside the cell which spreads to surrounding neurons.
Monday Lecture Series
Dicer-independent Primal RNAs Trigger RNAi and Heterochromatin Formation
Mario Halic, Ph.D.,
Post Doctoral Fellow
Department of Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School
October 11, 2010
4:00 p.m. Welch Hall Level Two
Yang JS, Maurin T, Robine N, et al. 2010. Conserved vertebrate mir-451 provides a platform for Dicer-independent, Ago2-mediated microRNA biogenesis. PNAS 107(34):15163-15168
Lee HC, Li LD, Gu WF, et al. 2010. Diverse Pathways Generate MicroRNA-like RNAs and Dicer-Independent Small Interfering RNAs in Fungi. MOLECULAR CELL 38 ( 6):803-814
Cifuentes D, Xue HL, Taylor DW, et al. 2010. A Novel miRNA Processing Pathway Independent of Dicer Requires Argonaute2 Catalytic Activity. SCIENCE 328( 5986):1694-1698
Cheloufi S, Dos Santos CO, Chong MMW, et al.: 2010. A Dicer-independent miRNA biogenesis pathway that requires Ago catalysis. NATURE 465( 7298):584-
Halic M, Moazed D. 2010. Dicer-Independent Primal RNAs Trigger RNAi and Heterochromatin Formation. CELL 140( 4):504-516
Cao F, Li XZ, Hiew S, et al. 2009. Dicer independent small RNAs associate with telomeric heterochromatin. RNA-A PUBLICATION OF THE RNA SOCIETY 15(7):1274-1281. Please request from Markus Library.
Kawamura Y, Saito K, Kin T, et al. 2008. Drosophila endogenous small RNAs bind to Argonaute 2 in somatic cells. NATURE 453(7196):793-U5
Klattenhoff C, Theurkauf W . 2008. Biogenesis and germline functions of piRNAs. DEVELOPMENT 135(1):3-
Monday Lecture Series
The Gating Mechanism of an Archaeal Proteasome
Tomasz Religa, Ph.D.,
Post Doctoral Fellow
Department of Molecular Genetics
University of Toronto
October 4, 2010
4:00 p.m. Welch Hall Level Two
Baldwin AJ, Religa TL, Hansen DF, et al. 2010. (CHD2)-C-13 Methyl Group Probes of Millisecond Time Scale Exchange in Proteins by H-1 Relaxation Dispersion: An Application to Proteasome Gating Residue Dynamics. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY 132(32):10992-10995
Religa TL, Kay LE. 2010. Optimal methyl labeling for studies of supra-molecular systems . JOURNAL OF BIOMOLECULAR NMR 47(3):163-169
Religa TL, Sprangers R, Kay LE. 2010. Dynamic Regulation of Archaeal Proteasome Gate Opening As Studied by TROSY NMR. SCIENCE 328(5974):98-102
Marques AJ, Palanimurugan R, Matias AC, et al. 2009. Catalytic Mechanism and Assembly of the Proteasome. CHEMICAL REVIEWS 109(4):1509-1536
Humbard MA, Zhou G, Maupin-Furlow JA . 2009. The N-Terminal Penultimate Residue of 20S Proteasome alpha 1 Influences its N-alpha Acetylation and Protein Levels as Well as Growth Rate and Stress Responses of Haloferax volcanii. JOURNAL OF BACTERIOLOGY 191(12): 3794-3803
Bajorek M, Glickmann MH. 2004. Ubiquitin-proteasome system – Keepers at the final gates: regulatory complexes and gating of the proteasome channel. CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR LIFE SCIENCES 61(13): 1579-1588
Groll M, Brandstetter H, Bartunik H, et al. 2003. Investigations on the maturation and regulation of archaebacterial proteasomes. JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY 327(1): 75-83
Check out Scientific American’s blog site announcement of September 21 for Thomson Reuter’s “short list” of contenders for this year’s Nobel prizes. The Nobel’s are expected to be announced next month. Both Jeffrey Friedman and Ralph Steinman are on Reuter’s list for the prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Friedman was recently announced as one of this year’s co-winners of the Lasker Award.
Livemocha(TM), the world’s largest online language learning community, announced the launch of Livemocha Active Courses(TM), a set of ground-breaking online language courses for English, French, Italian, German and Spanish that promise conversational fluency through the combination of world-class course curriculum, personalized feedback from Livemocha Experts, and limitless practice with native speakers.
Designed with the help of leading language publishers Pearson and Harper Collins, the new Active Courses provide a set of online self-study courses that match or exceed the educational caliber of traditional textbook curriculum while integrating online community instruction to ensure the level of fluency that only practice with native speakers can bring. The Active Course offerings promise conversational fluency upon course completion and at a fraction of the cost of traditional language learning software.
Livemocha will continue to offer free, basic lessons in 38 languages including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Farsi, Hindi and Ukrainian.
Attempts to find a lone biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease — whether it’s in blood, spinal fluid, or the brain — have largely failed. The Texas Alzheimer’s Research Consortium project conducted a longitudinal case-control study, using stored blood samples to develop an algorithm that separates patients with Alzheimer’s disease from controls. The biomarker assays looked at hundreds of proteins, including thrombopoietin, TNF-alpha, creatine kinase, and various interleukins. The his team focused on a large array of blood-based proteins, since assay technology has now made it possible to evaluate large amounts of data. Screening for these biomarkers and factoring in age, sex, education, and APOE status led to a sensitivity of 0.94 and a specificity of 0.84, as reported by Sid O’Bryant, PhD, of Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, Texas, and colleagues in the Archives of Neurology. They also saw that many of the proteins with the highest importance were inflammatory in nature, which suggests that the existence of an inflammatory-related endophenotype of Alzheimer’s disease “may provide targeted therapeutic opportunities for this subset of patients.”