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Mimicking memory repression

By | March 20, 2001

A recent study demonstrates a way to test the brain's ability to suppress unwanted memories.

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On display

By | March 20, 2001

Molecular reagents that bind to specific proteins with high affinity are valuable tools in the endeavour to understand protein function. In the Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Wilson et al. describe how a method based on mRNA display can be used to identify ligands with higher affinity than those selected using the phage display technique. The new technique generates polypeptides that are linked via a puromycin moiety to their encoding mRNAs. Wilson et al. demons

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Evidence for an infectious cause for leukaemia

By | March 19, 2001

6-fold after unusual mixing of rural and urban populations during World War II adds to the evidence for infection as a cause of childhood leukaemia.

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Histone codes

By | March 19, 2001

The histone code hypothesis posits that distinct combinations of histone modifications can recruit chromatin-modifying enzymes and exert epigenetic control over heterochromatin assembly. In the March 15 ScienceXpress, Nakayama et al. describe a role for histone methylation in heterochromatin assembly in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The Clr4 protein methylated lysine 9 of histone H3 (H3Lys9) preferentially within heterochromatin-associated regions. H3Lys9 methylation led to the r

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New neurons are involved in memory formation

By | March 19, 2001

Newly generated neurons in the adult brain are involved in at least one form of memory.

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strain differences influence host responses

By | March 19, 2001

Patients with chronic gastritis produced by Helicobacter pylori are at risk of duodenal and gastric ulceration and gastric cancer. The majority of H. pylori-colonized individuals remain asymptomatic, however, and the mechanism of this resistance is not fully understood. A study published in the March issue of Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that genetic differences between strains of Helicobacter pylori influence host inflammatory responses (J Clin Invest 2001, 107:611-620). Dawn Israel

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Can NK cells maintain the remission of MS?

By | March 16, 2001

Natural killer cells from multiple sclerosis patients in remission have properties resembling those of NK type 2 cells, which can favour functional deviation of T cells toward Th2 and prohibit autoimmune effector T cells.

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Fungal sexual cycle

By | March 16, 2001

The availability of the complete genome of the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans enables a thorough investigation of its biology. In the 13 March Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Tzung et al describe a comparison of the C. albicans genome with that of the related yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in an attempt to identify genes that are specifically involved in the sexual cycle, namely, in the processes of meiosis and sporulation (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:3249-3253).By scree

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How plants cope with the damaging effects of UV radiation

By | March 16, 2001

Because of their dependence on sunlight for photosynthesis, plants are also exposed to the DNA-damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In the 15 March Genes & Development, Roman Ulm of the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel and co-workers report on how plants cope with genotoxic stresses, such as UV radiation (Genes Dev 2001, 15:699-709). Ulm et al identified a mutation in Arabidopsis thaliana, mkp1, that results in hypersensitivity to the DNA-damaging agent MMS (methyl methanesul

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Postnatal steroid treatment increases neuro-developmental impairment

By | March 16, 2001

Postnatal administration of corticosteroids for treatment and prevention of chronic lung disease such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a widespread practice and to date there have been no adequate analyses of long-term adverse effects. According to a meta-analysis just published in BMC Pediatrics, postnatal steroid treatment is associated with dramatic increases in neuro-developmental impairment and steroid use to prevent or treat bronchopulmonary dysplasia should be abandoned (BMC Pediatrics 20

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