Jan 27, 2007

2007 week 05: Articles of Related Interest

ENTIRE CATALOG OF FERRET PROTEINS TO DATE


Chopping Off Protein Puts Immune Cells Into High Gear
The complex task of launching a well-organized, effective immune system attack on specific targets is thrown into high gear when either of two specific enzymes chop a protein called LAG-3 off the immune cells leading that battle, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Role For Proteomics In Identifying Hematologic Malignancies
Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that could help clinicians identify a group of hematologic malignancies known as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), which affect approximately 300,000 individuals worldwide and often progress to acute myeloid leukemia.

Motor protein plays key role in connecting neurons
A motor protein called myosin X runs the main road of a developing neuron, delivering to its tip a receptor that enables it to communicate with other neurons, scientists say. In another piece of the puzzle of how neurons form connections, researchers have found myosin X travels a portion of a neuron's backbone called the actin filament, a sort of two-way highway in the cell's highest traffic area, says Dr. Wen-Cheng Xiong, developmental neurobiologist at the Medical College of Georgia.

'Quiet Revolution' May Herald New RNA Therapeutics
Scientists at the University of Oxford have identified a surprising way of switching off a gene involved in cell division. The mechanism involves a form of RNA, a chemical found in cell nuclei, whose role was previously unknown, and could have implications for preventing the growth of tumour cells.
RNA plays an important and direct role in the synthesis of proteins, the building blocks of our bodies. However, scientists have known for some time that not all types of RNA are directly involved in protein synthesis. Now, in research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, a team of scientists has shown that one particular type of RNA plays a key role in regulating the gene implicated in control of tumour growth. The research is published online today in Nature.

Chemical Switch Triggers Critical Cell Activities
The freeze-frame image of a molecular relay race, in which one enzyme passes off a protein like a baton to another enzyme, has solved a key mystery to how cells control some vital functions, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. A report on this work appears in the January 14 advanced online publication issue of Nature.

Buckyballs used as 'passkey' into cancer cells
Rice University chemists and Baylor College of Medicine pediatric scientists have discovered how to use buckyballs as passkeys that allows drugs to enter cancer cells. Research in the January 21 issue of the journal Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, describes how the researchers mimicked the techniques used by some viruses to introduce non-toxic bits of buckyball-containing protein into both neuroblastoma and liver cancer cells.

Filamins Tether Cystic Fibrosis Protein To Cell Surface
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by mutations in a gene that encodes a protein known as CFTR. More than 1000 different disease-causing mutations in CFTR have been identified, and although the overall effect of each mutation is to decrease CFTR expression at the cell surface, it is not known for every one of these mutations what the molecular defect is that causes the decreased cell surface expression of CFTR.
From the article itself: "Our data demonstrate what we believe to be a previously unrecognized role for the CFTR N terminus in the regulation of the plasma membrane stability and metabolic stability of CFTR. In addition, we elucidate the molecular defect associated with the S13F mutation."

Breakthrough Could Prevent Multiple Fibrotic Diseases: Tests Find Protein Stops Fibrosis In Lung, Heart, Other Tissues Science Daily
A scientific breakthrough at Rice University could lead to the first treatment that prevents the build-up of deadly scar tissue in a broad class of diseases that account for an estimated 45 percent of U.S. deaths each year.
"Fibrotic diseases kill so many people because they can crop up in almost any part of the body, and cardiac fibrosis is a particular problem for anyone who's had a heart attack," said Richard Gomer, professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice. "We've discovered a naturally occurring blood protein that prevents dangerous scar tissue from forming."

Brown team finds crucial protein role in deadly prion spread
Brown University biologists have made another major advance toward understanding the deadly work of prions, the culprits behind fatal brain diseases such as mad cow and their human counterparts. In new work published online in PLoS Biology, researchers show that the protein Hsp104 must be present and active for prions to multiply and cause disease.

Scripps Research study reveals new function of protein kinase pathway in tumor suppression
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have discovered a surprising new function of a well-known signaling pathway that, when activated, can inhibit tumor development. This finding may lead to the development of drugs that can serve as an effective cancer therapy by artificially activating this pathway in cancer cells.

Disabling key protein may give physicians time to treat pneumonic plague
The deadly attack of the bacterium that causes pneumonic plague is significantly slowed when it can't make use of a key protein, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report in this week's issue of Science.

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