Week in Review: August 22–26

“Beiging” white fat with caloric restriction; early-life antibiotics can elevate type 1 diabetes risk; melatonin and tooth development; Zika news; updated tissue-clearing protocol

Tracy Vence
Aug 26, 2016

Beiging fat

Restricting the caloric intake of lean mice, researchers observed “beiging” of the animals’ white adipose tissue. That is, more of the murine white fat cells were converted to metabolically superior brown fat cells. The team’s observations were published in Cell Metabolism this week (August 25).

“The paper nicely characterizes this phenomenon,” Ajay Chawla of the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the work told The Scientist.

Antibiotic therapy and type 1 diabetes risk

Early-life antibiotic therapy may increase a genetically predisposed individual’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes, according to a mouse study published in Nature Microbiology this week (August 22).

Melatonin, circadian disruptions, and tooth development

Following the identification of melatonin receptors in mammalian teeth, scientists sought to investigate the sleep-associated hormone’s effects on dental development in mice. The team’s results, published in PLOS ONE this month (August 5), point to the importance of a normal light/dark cycle for the developing fetuses of pregnant mice.

“If the mother’s circadian rhythms aren’t normal, it might affect her baby’s tooth development,” said study coauthor William Jia of the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Zika updates

How Zika Infects Mother and Baby
The virus replicates in the vaginal tissue of pregnant mice and in the brains of their fetuses, researchers show.

Zika Update
More locally acquired cases in Florida; fetal brain damage investigated

CDC: Zika Virus Spreading in Miami Beach
With new reports of mosquito-borne transmission, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns pregnant women to avoid the area.

Plan to Fight Zika with GM Mosquitos in Florida Faces Opposition
Officials postpone the launch of an experimental program aimed at reducing local mosquito populations with genetically modified insects.

More news in life science

Updated Tissue-Clearing Protocol Extends Time Frame for Imaging
“Ultimate DISCO” uses a solvent that shrinks whole animals and preserves fluorescence for months.

Study: IVF Media Affects Treatment Outcomes
Differences between cultures used for in vitro fertilization techniques can impact fertility and offspring health, researchers report.

Physical Force Upregulates Gene Expression
Applying a mechanical force that pulls on a cell stretches chromatin, facilitating transcription, scientists show.