Clingy bacteria often spell trouble. Scientists have discovered how bacteria manufacture hair-like fibers used to cling to the lining of the kidney and bladder where they cause urinary tract infections (UTIs). The results are published in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Cell. “Our findings should lead to new drugs to treat UTIs by blocking the formation of these protein fibers,” says study leader Scott J. Hultgren, Ph.D., the Helen Lehbrink Stoever Professor of Molecular Microbiology. “They also should improve our general understanding of how disease-causing bacteria build, fold and secrete proteins that enable them to cause disease.”
Scientists have shown for the first time how the virus that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma inhibits the body’s immune response and causes cancer cells to grow through a technique called immune evasion. Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, or KSHV,causes Kaposi’s sarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessel cells that often occurs in tissues under the skin or mucous membranes, and is the most common malignancy occurring among AIDS patients. KSHV belongs to the family of herpesviruses that includes the causes of genital herpes, cold sores and chickenpox. The same researchers who previously discovered KSHV examined the expression of a virus-derived cytokine (a hormone-like substance that regulates cells during an immune response) in KSHV and found it not only inhibits immune function, but also causes cancerous cells to grow
Scientists have coupled the protein that makes fireflies glow with a device similar to a home video camera to eavesdrop on cellular conversations in living mice. The team’s research will allow scientists to study how cellular proteins talk to one another. These communications trigger changes that regulate a healthy body and cause disease when the signals go awry. The findings may speed development of new drugs for cancer, cardiovascular diseases and neurological diseases.
In a study that combines state-of-the-art biological imaging with gene expression analysis, scientists at the California Institute of Technology have uncovered a fundamental insight into the way embryonic cells and tissue move about to form key structures along the vertebrate axis. The study, which could lead to a better understanding of human development, takes advantage of the accessibility of chick embryos to embryonic manipulation. The study enters on segments known as somites, which form along either side of the future spinal cord of an embryo. Somites give rise to mature structures such as ribs, individual vertebrae, and even skin. The key role of somite segmentation in the patterning of the nervous system and the vertebral column has been long known. But the question of precisely how an individual somite buds off from a block of tissue in a pattern that is repeated all along the animal’s torso, from head to tail, is poorly understood.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic say that wearing ionized bracelets for the treatment of muscle and joint pain is no more effective than wearing placebo bracelets. Authors of the published study randomly assigned 305 participants to wear an ionized bracelet for 28 days and another 305 participants to wear a placebo bracelet for the same duration. The study volunteers were men and women 18 and older who had self-reported musculoskeletal pain at the beginning of the study. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew which volunteers wore an ionized bracelet and which wore a placebo bracelet. Bracelets were worn according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Both types of bracelets were identical and were supplied by the manufacturer, QT, Inc.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology today announced the worldwide launch of DSpace, a massive digital repository system which will capture, store, distribute and preserve the intellectual output of MIT’s faculty and research staff. Developed jointly by the MIT Libraries and the Hewlett-Packard Co., DSpace will transform how MIT distributes and archives the results of its research, and will serve as a model for other universities and institutions with similar needs.
Researchers have created a tiny motor that they can turn on and off at will, bringing scientists one step closer to using such devices to repair cellular damage, manufacture medicines and attack cancer cells. As reported in this month’s Nature Materials, the researchers have developed a chemical switch that gives them control over a biomolecular motor just 11 nanometers, or 11 billionths of a meter, in size ? hundreds of times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Go ahead, laugh. In fact, look forward to the upcoming positive event. It does the body good. Even looking forward to a happy, funny event increases endorphins and other relaxation-inducing hormones as well as decreases other detrimental stress hormones, a new study has found.
Researchers say the biological motors that nature uses for intracellular transport and other biological functions inspired them to create a whole new class of micro-devices for controlling magnetic flux quanta in superconductors that could lead to the development of a new generation of medical diagnostic tools. As integrated circuits become smaller and smaller, it becomes increasingly difficult to create the many “guiding channels” that act like wires to move electrons around the circuit components.
Researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have discovered a high tech way to quell panic in rats. They have detected the brain’s equivalent of an “all clear” signal, that, when simulated, turns off fear. The discovery could lead to non-drug, physiological treatments for runaway fear responses seen in anxiety disorders. Rats normally freeze with fear when they hear a tone they have been conditioned to associate with an electric shock. Dr. Gregory Quirk and Mohammed Milad, Ponce School of Medicine, Puerto Rico, have now demonstrated that stimulating a site in the front part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, extinguishes this fear response by mimicking the brain’s own “safety signal.”