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BLAST off

By | February 1, 2002

Molecular biologists using Apple computers can receive a speed boost if they use an optimized version of BLAST and the new Mac operating system OS X on a Macintosh G4. The new version of BLAST, called A/G BLAST, was engineered by Apple's Advanced Computation Group in conjunction with Genentech and was announced on 29 January at the O'Reilly Bioinformatics Technology Conference in Tucson Arizona. A/G BLAST is optimized to take advantage of the G4 processor's Altivec or 'Velocity Engine' component

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Fertile ground for gene therapy

By | February 1, 2002

Sertoli cells are essential for spermatogenesis because of their interactions with germ cells, and a defect in their function can lead to the absence of spermatozoa (azoospermia) and male infertility. In January 29 online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mito Kanatsu-Shinohara and colleagues from Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, show that adenovirus-mediated gene delivery into Sertoli cells of infertile mice could successfully restore production of fer

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Mental flossing

By | February 1, 2002

Bacteria producing amyloid plaque-like curli could provide clues about the development of Alzheimer's disease.

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New global fund open for business

By | January 31, 2002

The new Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is now open to funding proposals. Its 'unique strategy' must have an early impact

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Plant pathogen genome

By | January 31, 2002

reveals clues about its pathogenicity.

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Tolerization receptors

By | January 31, 2002

T suppressor cells alter certain antigen presenting cell activities thought to be central to the prevention of autoimmune diseases, allergies, transplant rejection and immune-deficiency disorders, but the molecular basis that underlies this mechanism remains unclear. In January 28 online Nature Immunology, Chih-Chao Chang and colleagues from Columbia University, New York, show that the immunoglobulin-like transcript 3 (ILT3) and ILT4 inhibitory receptors have an important role in the tolerizatio

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Transgenic frogs

By | January 31, 2002

The binary Gal4–UAS system has been used to drive the tissue-specific expression of transgenes in a number of animal models. In the February 5 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Katharine Hartley and colleagues at the Wellcome/CRC Institute Cambridge, UK, report application of the Gal4–UAS system to create transgenic Xenopus (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:1377-1382).The authors generated Xenopus lines expressing constructs for the 'activator', the yeast trans

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Microbe warning over contact lens solutions

By | January 30, 2002

Acanthamoeba is a leading cause of eye infection on contact lens wearers, particularly in people that use soft lenses. It can cause keratis of the eye and may eventually lead to blindness. In the British Journal of Ophthalmology, K. Hiti and colleagues, from the University of Vienna, Austria, tested the ability of three types of cleaning solutions for soft contact lenses to kill the single-cell organism Acanthamoeba (Br J Ophthalmol 2002, 86:144-146).The organism has two distinct life stages: tr

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Antioxidants could prevent type 1 diabetes

By | January 29, 2002

The antioxidant metalloporphyrin-based superoxide dismutase can prevent or delay the onset of the autoimmune cascade in diabetes.

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Endocytosis controller

By | January 29, 2002

Endocytosis and degradation of the membrane receptors in the lysosome controls the activation of intracellular signaling pathways, but the mechanisms that control the endocytosis itself are largely unknown. In January 25 Cell, Thomas Lloyd and colleagues from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, US show that hepatocyte growth factor regulates endosome membrane invagination and tyrosine kinase receptor (TKR) signaling in Drosophila.Lloyd et al. performed electron microscopy studies on mutant fly

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