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More protection against anthrax

By | October 16, 2001

The main virulence factor of Bacillus anthracis is a toxin that consists of three separate gene products; protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF). In July Infection and Immunity, Brian Price and colleagues from Ohio State University showed that DNA-based immunization with a plasmid encoding the LF or PA protein provides complete protection against anthrax lethal toxin.Price et al. used a gene gun to inoculate mice with either a vector plasmid encoding a fragment of PA o

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Phosphatase in metastasis

By | October 16, 2001

Metastasis poses the greatest threat to the survival of cancer patients, yet the molecular events underlying this complex process are unclear. In the October 11 ScienceXpress, Saurabh Saha and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, USA, describe serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) to identify genes involved in liver metastasis in colorectal cancer patients (ScienceXpress 10.1126/science.1065817).They developed an immunoaffinity fractionation procedure to purify co

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A new immune response switch

By | October 15, 2001

T cell interface.

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High protein diet warning

By | October 15, 2001

The current vogue for weight loss by following a high protein diet could lead to long-term damage.

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Lymphocyte signaling

By | October 15, 2001

During T-lymphocyte activation, signals from a number of cell-surface receptors must be integrated to ensure the appropriate genetic response. Non-dividing, primary T lymphocytes are notoriously difficult to transfect, presenting an experimental limitation to dissecting signaling mechanisms. In the October issue of Nature Medicine, Michael Bell and colleaguess from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, describe an efficient method for introducing DNA into non-dividing lymphocytes, so as to an

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Patient information

By | October 15, 2001

Databases containing an individual's genetic data must be subject to clear, transparent and enforceable guidelines.

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Chromatin at centromeres

By | October 12, 2001

Chromatin fibers adopt higher-order structures that define chromosomal regions with distinct functional properties. In the October 9 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nick Gilbert and James Allan, from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, UK, describe the use of analytical sucrose gradient sedimentation to examine chromatin fibres released from centromeric heterochromatin (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:11949-11954).They studied soluble chromatin released from murine NIH3T3 f

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Corticotropin-releasing factor affinity switch

By | October 12, 2001

Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is an early signal of the stress response and is also an important neuromodulator of memory consolidation, anxiety, locomotor activity and food intake. In September 25 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Klaus Eckart and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Goettingen, show that it is possible to selectively change the binding properties of the CRF hormone by replacing a single amino acid in the CRF structure (Proc N

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Expert claims link between CJD and BSE 'unlikely'

By | October 12, 2001

A causal link between bovine spongiform encephalopathy and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is unlikely.

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Size matters

By | October 12, 2001

Loss of telomere function can induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis but the processes that trigger cellular responses to telomere dysfunction remain largely unknown. In October Cell, Michael Hemann and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine show that the shortest telomere, not average telomere length, is critical for cell viability and chromosome stability (Cell 2001, 107:67-77).Hemann et al. crossbred telomerase-deficient mice having short telomeres with mice heterozygous

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