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Latest Stowers Institute for Medical Research Stories

2012-08-31 13:41:11

Stowers scientists show how pluripotent stem cells mobilize in wounded planarian worms, to better understand stem cell behavior in regeneration and disease The skin, the blood, and the lining of the gut–adult stem cells replenish them daily. But stem cells really show off their healing powers in planarians, humble flatworms fabled for their ability to rebuild any missing body part. Just how adult stem cells build the right tissues at the right times and places has remained largely...

2012-08-27 11:45:43

Researchers show how repressor proteins ensure accurate gene expression by thwarting histone exchange Two opposing teams battle it out to regulate gene expression on the DNA playing field. One, the activators, keeps DNA open to enzymes that transcribe DNA into RNA. Their repressor opponents antagonize that effort by twisting DNA into an inaccessible coil around histone proteins, an amalgam called chromatin, effectively blocking access to DNA by enzymes that elongate an RNA strand. Both...

2012-07-30 12:15:10

Stowers scientists make a surprising find in study of sex- and aggression-triggering vomeronasal organ The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is one of evolution's most direct enforcers. From its niche within the nose in most land-based vertebrates, it detects pheromones and triggers corresponding basic-instinct behaviors, from compulsive mating to male-on-male death matches. A new study from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, published online in Nature Neuroscience on July 29, 2012, extends...

2012-06-11 19:54:23

An actin-ratchet tightens the contractile ring that severs budding daughter cells from their yeast mothers During the final stage of cell division, a short-lived contractile ring constricts the cellular membrane and eventually separates the dividing cell in two. Although this "molecular muscle's" composition, mainly actin and myosin, is similar to its skeletal counterpart, the force-producing mechanism is fundamentally different, report researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical...

2012-05-01 09:42:57

A team of Stowers scientists defines biochemical crosstalk between DNA interacting proteins and their modifications When stretched out, the genome of a single human cell can reach six feet. To package it all into a tiny nucleus, the DNA strand is tightly wrapped around a core of histone proteins in repeating units–each unit known as a nucleosome. To allow access for the gene expression machinery the nucleosomes must open up and regroup when the process is complete. In the May 1,...

2012-04-30 19:56:02

Stowers scientists use fruit flies to reveal unknown function of a transcriptional regulator of development and cancer Historically, fly and human Polycomb proteins were considered textbook exemplars of transcriptional repressors, or proteins that silence the process by which DNA gives rise to new proteins. Now, work by a team of researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research challenges that dogma. In a cover story in the May 2012 issue of the journal Molecular and Cellular...

2012-04-09 09:35:14

Cells on the move reach forward with lamellipodia and filopodia, cytoplasmic sheets and rods supported by branched networks or tight bundles of actin filaments. Cells without functional lamellipodia are still highly motile but lose their ability to stay on track, report researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in the April 9, 2012, online issue of the Journal of Cell Biology. Their study provides new insight into cell motility, a complex and integrated process, which, when...

2012-03-26 11:03:13

Few molecules are more interesting than DNA–except of course RNA. After two decades of research, that "other macromolecule" is no longer considered a mere messenger between glamorous DNA and protein-synthesizing machines. We now know that RNA has been leading a secret life, regulating gene expression and partnering with proteins to form catalytic ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. One of those RNPs is telomerase, an enzyme that maintains chromosome integrity. In the March 25, 2012,...

2012-02-20 14:32:25

Lipids help control the development of cell polarity In a standard biology textbook, cells tend to look more or less the same from all sides. But in real life cells have fronts and backs, tops and bottoms, and they orient many of their structures according to this polarity explaining, for example, why yeast cells bud at one end and not the other. Over the last few years, Rong Li, Ph.D., and her team at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have figured out many important details of...


Word of the Day
malpais
  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'