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Cytokine gene regulation by NFAT

By | September 15, 2000

Point mutations in the transcription factor NFAT define sets of cytokine genes whose regulation is dependent on or independent of cooperation between NFAT and Fos/Jun

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Recognizing Mom's scent

By | September 15, 2000

Proteins of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are involved in cell-cell recognition: they bind and present antigens in the immune system. But, at least in mice, they are also involved in odor-based recognition between individuals. Mice tend to mate with MHC-dissimilar mice (to maintain MHC diversity) and nest with MHC-similar mice. In the September 12 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Yamazaki et al. report that mothers recognize and preferentially retrieve MHC-similar pup

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The first photosynthesis was purple

By | September 15, 2000

Molecular phylogenies of bacteria are mostly built on the analysis of conserved molecules such as 16S ribosomal RNA. But there is evidence for horizontal gene transfer of photosynthesis genes, so any debate about the origin of photosynthesis must look directly at the evolution of that gene group, independent of its bacterial host. This is what Xiong et al. undertake in the September 8 Science, using 100 kb of newly generated sequence that identifies many genes for photosynthetic pigment synthesi

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vCJD could be transmitted through blood transfusions

By | September 15, 2000

A study in sheep shows that BSE can be transmitted between individuals of the same species by whole blood transfusion.

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Evidence that teaching hospitals have better survival outcomes

By | September 14, 2000

Quality of care for acute MI patients is better in teaching hospitals, perhaps because they practice evidence-based medicine.

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Stem cell transplant shrinks tumour metastases

By | September 14, 2000

LONDON, 14 September (SPIS MedWire). Stem cell transplantation may offer hope to patients with advanced kidney cancer - usually considered an incurable illness. According to a report in today's New England Journal of Medicine, 19 patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, which had not responded to conventional therapy, received low-dose chemotherapy and immunosuppression followed by stem cell transplantation from a related donor. In seven patients there was shrinkage of metastases, and thre

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Bacterium or organelle?

By | September 13, 2000

In the 7 September Nature Shigenobu et al. report the complete sequence of Buchnera, an obligate resident of aphid cells (Nature 2000, 407:81-86). The sequence suggests that this bacterium is on its way to becoming an organelle. Buchnera looks most like Escherichia coli, but with a genome one seventh the size. It lacks genes for most regulatory proteins and for the biosynthesis of nonessential amino acids, cell-surface components (including lipopolysaccharides and phospholipids), and crucial DNA

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Better chips through chemistry

By | September 13, 2000

Two papers in the September 8 Science are a testament to the speed at which biological chip formats and standards are evolving. Taton et al. expand on their established method for detecting DNA hybridization using gold nanoparticles attached to a probe (Science 2000, 289:1757-1760). The previous system took advantage of a color change induced upon nanoparticle aggregation, but a new method of nanoparticle-promoted reduction of a silver(I) substrate allows for signal amplification and detection u

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Cracking cell signalling by sharing - not publishing

By | September 13, 2000

A new research programme is encouraging researchers to forgo publishing their results in academic journals and instead post them straight on the web.

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MODY-fying gene expression in diabetes

By | September 13, 2000

Identification of genes that are regulated by the transcription factor HNF1alpha may explain its involvement in MODY3 diabetes.

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