A study in the journal Science is offering new insights into a long-standing mystery about plant growth. The scientists who conducted the experiment say their results could open new avenues of research for developing more effective herbicides and pharmaceuticals. Plant biologists from Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution of Washington report their new findings in the April 24 online edition of Science Express. The researchers are the first to witness the birth and growth of individual “microtubules” ? nanosize tubes of protein that form inside living plant cells.
While cautioning that their findings still must be evaluated in humans, University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University Medical Center researchers report that the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin (Lipitor) significantly improved, prevented relapses or reversed paralysis in mice with an experimental disease that closely resembles multiple sclerosis. The study, reported in the November 7 issue of Nature, was conducted in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the standard animal model for multiple sclerosis.