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Skin ageing and the smoker

By | March 23, 2001

Smokers look older than non-smokers of the same age, probably because they have higher levels of MMP-1 (matrix metalloproteinase 1) in their skin, according to a study in 24 March Lancet. MMP-1 is a zinc-dependent metalloproteinase that degrades collagen, which is important in maintaining the mechanical/elastic properties of connective tissue in the skin.Lahmann et al from Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, London, used PCR to measure mRNA in the buttock skin of 14 smokers and 19 n

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An emerging pattern

By | March 22, 2001

Three studies shed new light on how members of the bone morphogenetic protein family are regulated during embryonic development.

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targets

By | March 22, 2001

Members of the myc oncogene family are often amplified or mutated in human tumours. In the March 15 EMBO Journal, Boon et al. described the use of a neuroblastoma cell line with an inducible N-myc allele to identify genes regulated by N-myc (EMBO Journal 2001, 20:1383-1393). They performed serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) to detect over a hundred genes up-regulated upon N-myc expression. The target genes included over 50 encoding ribosomal proteins, as well as key genes in rRNA maturati

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Two genotypes increase risk of heart attack

By | March 22, 2001

Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1 R A1166C) gene polymorphism have both been associated with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. It is not known, however, if an interaction between these two polymorphisms is responsible. In a paper published in April Heart, a team from University of Groningen, Netherlands confirms that the ACE-DD and AT1 R-CC genotypes interact to increase the risk of ischaemic events (Heart 2001, 85:458-462).Van Geel et al

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Discovery of a schizophrenia gene

By | March 21, 2001

A genetic variant in a putative ion channel gene co-segregates with inherited catatonic schizophrenia in an extensive pedigree.

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Juicy transgenics

By | March 21, 2001

Citrus trees have a long juvenile phase (6-20 years) that delays their reproductive development. In the March Nature Biotechnology, Pena et al. report genetic experiments that accelerated the citrus flowering time (Nature Biotechnology 2001, 19:263-267). They produced transgenic juvenile orange trees that constitutively express Arabidopsis LEAFY (LFY) or APETALA1 (AP1) genes driven by the cauliflower mosaic virus promoter. Both of these flowering genes could shorten the juvenile phase and promo

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MBL and the risk of infections in children

By | March 20, 2001

The risk for acute respiratory tract infection is higher in children with a mannose-binding lectin deficiency genotype.

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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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