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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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700,000 ORESTES

By | October 11, 2001

Now that we have the whole human genome sequence, the challenge remains to identify all the genes and transcripts hidden within it. In the October 9 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Anamaria Camargo and colleagues, from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Sao Paolo, Brazil, report the results from a Brazilian project aimed at defining the human transcriptome (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:12103-12108).The approach being used exploits open reading frame expressed sequenc

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Human Genetics Commission

By | October 11, 2001

The first report from the Human Genetics Commission stresses the importance of openness and public consultation in future policy decisions.

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Unisex contraceptives

By | October 11, 2001

Calcium has long been known to be important in sperm function, but a full understanding of the molecular mechanisms of its action has remained elusive. In October 11 Nature, Dejian Ren and colleagues from Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Harvard Medical School describe a new cation channel, CatSper, which is vital to cAMP-mediated Ca2+ influx in sperm, sperm motility and fertilization.Ren et al. analyzed DNA for sequences that might code for known voltage-gated calcium channels and found a ge

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Apolipoprotein locus

By | October 10, 2001

Comparison of mouse and human genomic sequences reveals an unidentified apolipoprotein-like gene.

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Maternal tolerance

By | October 10, 2001

Corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) participates in the implantation of embryos and early pregnancy tolerance via pathways that remain poorly understood. In October Nature Immunology, Makrigiannakis and colleagues from University of Crete School of Medicine, Greece, show that locally produced embryonic and endometrial CRH promotes implantation and maintenance of early pregnancy primarily by killing activated T cells.Makrigiannakis et al. studied isolated primary human extravillous trophoblast

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Chromosome replication

By | October 9, 2001

The initiation of chromosome replication is exquisitely regulated in both time and location. It has been estimated that there are 200-400 autosomal replication sequence elements (ARSs) in the yeast genome that act as replication origins. Although they share some common sequence features, origins are difficult to predict from genomic sequence. In the October 5 Science, Raghuraman et al., from the University of Washington in Seattle, describe a microarray-based approach to investigate the kinetics

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Close-up on breast cancer protein

By | October 8, 2001

High-resolution structures of the N- and C-terminal regions of BRCA1 show cancer-predisposing mutations may affect the domain.

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The end of HIV-1 budding machinery

By | October 8, 2001

HIV-1 reprograms the cellular machinery and employs several unknown host proteins to bud from infected cells. In 5 October Cell, Jennifer Garrus and colleagues from University of Utah School of Medicine and Myriad Genetics, Salt Lake City show that the human tumor susceptibility gene 101 (Tsg101), which functions in vacuolar protein sorting (Vps) pathway, is critical to HIV-1 budding and the progression of the disease into full-blown AIDS.Garrus et al. used small interfering RNA to stop producti

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The nitroproteome

By | October 8, 2001

Protein nitration at tyrosine is associated with dozens of pathologies, including transplant rejection, cancer and Parkinson's disease. In the October 9 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Kulzant Aulak and colleagues at The Cleveland Clinic describe the use of proteomics to explore protein nitration events during inflammatory challenge (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:12056-12061).They used a well-characterized monoclonal antibody recognizing nitrotyrosine to detect nitrated protei

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