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Uncoupling protection

By | January 7, 2002

Uncoupling proteins (UCPs) are molecules that usually generate heat in the mitochondria of brown adipose tissue, but their function in other tissues remains unclear. In 3 January Nature, Karim Echtay and colleagues from the Medical Research Council's Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, Cambridge, UK, show that UCPs may have a role in decreasing reactive oxygen species concentrations inside mitochondria.Echtay et al. observed that superoxide increases mitochondrial proton conductance through effects on UC

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A surprising substitution

By | January 4, 2002

Transcription factor component JunB, although less active than Jun, has the potential to substitute functionally for Jun.

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Evidence that the heart can regenerate

By | January 4, 2002

Undifferentiated host cells can migrate to host donor tissue in transplanted hearts.

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Monkey map

By | January 4, 2002

Following the completed draft of the human genome sequence, there is renewed interest in the genetic differences between species and, particularly, in what makes us human. In 4 January Science, Asao Fujiyama and colleagues at the RIKEN Genomic Sciences Center, Japan present a first-generation human-chimpanzee comparative genome map (Science 2002, 295:131-134).They used over 77,000 chimp bacterial artificial chromosomes (BAC) and aligned end-sequences with the human genomic sequence. The BAC clon

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Pea style protein import

By | January 4, 2002

Pea chloroplast protein transporter crystal structure reveals a novel GTPase involved in transmembrane protein import.

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Miniature genome

By | January 3, 2002

The 'Year of the Genome' ended with the publication of a tiny genome, that of the marine chordate Oikopleura dioica. Oikopleura is a small pelagic chordate that measures just 5mm. It is easy to culture and has a short life cycle (2-4 days) and high female fecundity (around 300 oocytes). In 21 December Science, Hee-Chan Seo and colleagues reported the genome sequence of O. dioica (Science 2001, 294:2506).They used large-scale shotgun sequencing to assemble contigs covering 32.6 Mb. The total geno

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Non-classical role for acetylcholinesterase

By | January 3, 2002

The neurotransmitter acetylcholinesterase is required for neuronal and muscular development in the zebrafish embryo.

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Re-evaluating the yeast genome

By | January 3, 2002

Finding genes within genomic sequence remains a major challenge, even for a genome that has undergone extensive annotation such as that of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In January Nature Biotechnology, Anuj Kumar and colleagues at Yale University describe an integrated genomics approach for gene hunting (Nat Biotechnol 2002, 20:58-63).Kumar et al. performed a large-scale insertional mutagenesis screen using a modified transposon as a LacZ-reporter gene-trap. Candidate genes were then verif

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ADAMs cut into heart failure

By | December 31, 2001

Cardiac hypertrophy is an adaptive response to an increase in blood pressure which, despite initial benefits, leads to heart failure and is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In January Nature Medicine, Masanori Asakura and colleagues from Osaka University Faculty of Medicine, Osaka, Japan show that shedding of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor (HB-EGF) by ADAM12 plays an important role in the development of cardiac hypertrophy.Asakura et al. found that in cultured rat

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Fresh heart for red wine drinkers

By | December 31, 2001

Seasonal science suggests that red wine does you good and that the bubbles in champagne do go to your head.

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