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Genetic basis for aggressive tumours discovered

By | January 18, 2001

A checkpoint mutation in mice might provide clues to the progression towards aggressive, treatment-resistant cancers, according to a study published in 18 January Nature. Researchers from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York genetically engineered a mutation in the MAD2 gene that eliminates a checkpoint in mitotic division essential for ensuring the equal distribution of chromosomes to the two daughter cells. The mutation caused the tumour cells to become very genetically unsta

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Loss of imprinting in colorectal cancer

By | January 18, 2001

Loss of imprinting (LOI) has been implicated in the predisposition to certain colorectal cancers. Insulin-like growth factor II (IGF2) is an imprinted gene in which the maternal allele is normally silenced. In the January 16 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Nakagawa et al. describe the development of a fluorescence-based primer extension assay (SnuPE) to examine whether LOI is associated with allele-specific methylation in colorectal cancer samples (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001,

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The link between obesity and diabetes

By | January 18, 2001

Type II diabetes is characterised by tissue resistance to insulin and is widespread in industrialised societies. A link between obesity and type II diabetes has long been suspected but details of the mechanism were unknown. Now, a newly discovered hormone described in 18 January Nature is proposed as the essential link between obesity and type II diabetes.Michell Lazar and colleagues from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that adipocytes secrete a unique signalling protein, whi

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Antidepressants may work by generating new cells

By | January 17, 2001

Antidepressants may exert their effect by increasing cell proliferation and neuronal number. It is through this mechanism that Malberg et al. (J Neurosci 2000, 20:9104-9110) believe antidepressants reverse the stress-induced atrophy and loss of hippocampal neurons.Jessica E. Malberg and colleagues at Connecticut Medical Center, New Haven treated groups of rats with three different classes of antidepressant: fluoxetine, tranylcypromine, and reboxetine. There were also two control groups of rats:

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Blood test could allow early diagnosis of schizophrenia

By | January 17, 2001

A blood test for schizophrenia has been developed that could provide a means of diagnosing the condition before disabling symptoms occur. At present, diagnosis is based on psychiatric and observational assessment alone but the blood test, developed by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, could provide an insight into the biological basis of the disease.Previous research has already linked schizophrenia with increased levels of dopamine, and post-mortem results suggest that

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Gastric interactions

By | January 17, 2001

Large numbers of protein-protein interactions have been mapped for yeast and worms, and now in the January 11 Nature, Rain et al. present the first large set of interactions for a prokaryote (Nature 2001, 409:211-215). The two-hybrid screen of 261 proteins from the gastric pathogen Heliobacter pylori against a library of genome-encoded polypeptides revealed 1,200 putative interactions. Screening against a library allows the identification of interacting domains, and reduces the rate of false ne

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Gene profiles in developing worms

By | January 17, 2001

Only 8% of the 18,967 genes in the Caenorhabditis elegans genome have been extensively studied using biochemistry or genetics. In the January 2 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jiang et al. constructed microarrays with nearly every C. elegans gene to profile expression throughout development (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:218-223). They compared gene expression in six developmental stages from eggs to adult worms. Around two thirds of genes were found to vary during developm

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How things get complicated

By | January 17, 2001

Pre-biotic evolution created something almost infinitely unlikely to have arisen by chance: reproducing entities whose many parts interact in a way that is vastly more complex and interdependent than the disorganized interactions of the inanimate objects in the surrounding environment. And yet this creation of primitive organisms was all achieved in perhaps a few hundred million years. In the January 16 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jain and Krishna use mathematical modeling t

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Matrix modulation in monocytes

By | January 17, 2001

The interactions of cells with the extracellular matrix (ECM) are critical for orchestrating immune and inflammatory responses. In the December Immunity, de Fougerolles et al. report a comprehensive analysis of gene expression profiles affected by the attachment of monocytes to fibronectin and other ECM components (Immunity 2000, 13:749-758). They used a quantitative, restriction enzyme-based profiling method, named GeneCalling, to examine the integrin-mediated induction of genes in the monocy

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New model for HIV infection proposed

By | January 17, 2001

Two strains of HIV have been discovered that attack the immune system in a new way, according to research published in the January issue of Nature Medicine. It was previously thought that HIV largely affects CD4+ T cells, leaving CD8+ cells relatively untouched. Although two HIV strains from infected CD8+ cells had previously been isolated, it was not known whether their structures were different from those of strains that infect CD4+ cells.In the new research, Saha and colleagues show that neit

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Mettler Toledo
BD Biosciences
BD Biosciences