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Latest Stowers Institute for Medical Research Stories

2014-02-03 10:24:50

Disruptive clumps of mutated protein are often blamed for clogging cells and interfering with brain function in patients with the neurodegenerative diseases known as spinocerebellar ataxias. But a new study in fruit flies suggests that for at least one of these diseases, the defective proteins may not need to form clumps to do harm. The study, published February 1, 2014, in the journal Genes and Development, focuses on ataxin-7, the gene that is mutated in patients with spinocerebellar...

2014-01-16 14:30:04

Application of global sequencing technology reveals how an activator of gene expression stays focused At a glance, DNA is a rather simple sequence of A, G, C, T bases, but once it is packaged by histone proteins into an amalgam called chromatin, a more complex picture emerges. Histones, which come in four subtypes—H2A, H2B, H3, and H4—can either coil DNA into inaccessible silent regions or untwist it to allow gene expression. To further complicate things, small chemical flags, such as...

2013-10-04 13:17:31

Studies in fish and cultured human cells provide insight into a human disease Children born with developmental disorders called cohesinopathies can suffer severe consequences, including intellectual disabilities, limb shortening, craniofacial anomalies, and slowed growth. Researchers know which mutations underlie some cohesinopathies, but have developed little understanding of the downstream signals that are disrupted in these conditions. In a study published in the October 3, 2013,...

How Genes Tell Cellular Construction Crews, 'Read Me Now!'
2013-08-13 12:52:34

Stowers Institute for Medical Research Stowers researchers show that DNA sequences at the beginning of genes -- at least in fruit flies -- contain more information than previously thought When egg and sperm combine, the new embryo bustles with activity. Its cells multiply so rapidly they largely ignore their DNA, other than to copy it and to read just a few essential genes. The embryonic cells mainly rely on molecular instructions placed in the egg by its mother in the form of RNA....

2013-08-12 14:03:29

Stowers investigators show that rules governing expression of developmental genes in mouse embryonic stem cells are more nuanced than anticipated A decade ago, gene expression seemed so straightforward: genes were either switched on or off. Not both. Then in 2006, a blockbuster finding reported that developmentally regulated genes in mouse embryonic stem cells can have marks associated with both active and repressed genes, and that such genes, which were referred to as "bivalently marked...

Same Musicians Play Brand New Tune
2013-05-15 07:54:37

Stowers Institute for Medical Research A small ensemble of musicians can produce an infinite number of melodies, harmonies and rhythms. So too, do a handful of workhorse signaling pathways that interact to construct multiple structures that comprise the vertebrate body. In fact, crosstalk between two of those pathways–those governed by proteins known as Notch and BMP (for Bone Morphogenetic Protein) receptors–occurs over and over in processes as diverse as forming a tooth,...

Searching For Nematostella: Ancient Sea Creature
2013-05-02 10:15:46

Stowers Institute for Medical Research There's a new actor on the embryology stage: the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. Its career is being launched in part by Stowers Institute for Medical Research Associate Investigator Matt Gibson, Ph.D., who is giving it equal billing with what has been his laboratory's leading player, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Gibson's lab investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms used by cells to assemble into layers or clusters...

2013-03-13 18:06:19

A better 'mousetrap' discovered in fruit flies might stop a human cancer-driving kinase in its tracks A seemingly obscure gene in the female fruit fly that is only active in cells that will become eggs has led researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research to the discovery of a atypical protein that lures, traps, and inactivates the powerful Polo kinase, widely considered the master regulator of cell division. Its human homolog, Polo-like kinase-1 (Plk1), is misregulated in many...

Fruit Fly Studies Guide Researchers To Misregulated Mechanism In Human Cancers
2012-11-19 15:21:04

Stowers Institute for Medical Research Changes in how DNA interacts with histones–the proteins that package DNA–regulate many fundamental cell activities from stem cells maturing into a specific body cell type or blood cells becoming leukemic. These interactions are governed by a biochemical tug of war between repressors and activators, which chemically modify histones signaling them to clamp down tighter on DNA or move aside and allow a gene to be expressed. In the November...


Word of the Day
drawcansir
  • A blustering, bullying fellow; a pot-valiant braggart; a bully.
This word is named for Draw-Can-Sir, a character in George Villiers' 17th century play The Rehearsal.
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