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New patent strategy succeeds - for now

By | January 22, 2001

Bristol-Myers Squibb's novel patent strategy could prove effective in protecting its marketing exclusivity for the blockbuster anxiety drug BuSpar.

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Nucleosome remodelling takes its Toll

By | January 22, 2001

Mammalian Toll-like receptors (TLRs) bind to bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) leading to the induction of several cytokine genes that are essential for the inflammatory response. Activation of the Rel proteins is thought to be critical for TLR-induced transcriptional induction. As described in the January Nature Immunology, Weinmann et al. have used TLR4 mutant mice to show that TLR signaling is required for nucleosome remodeling at the interleukin 12 p40 promoter upon induction with LPS (N

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Tales of PU

By | January 22, 2001

Members of the PU.1/Spi family of Ets-type transcription factors play key roles in mammalian hematopoiesis and lymphoid development. Lymphocytes are found in jawed vertebrates, including cartilaginous fish, but not in jawless vertebrates or invertebrates. In the January 16 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Anderson et al. identified three PU.1 members in the cartilaginous fish Raja eglanteria (skate)(Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:553-558). Phylogenetic analysis established that

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Animal rights versus commercial freedom

By | January 19, 2001

The fate of a small animal research company has prompted the UK Government to consider new legislation "to deal with animal rights extremists."

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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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