Features Archive

2012

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Let's Do The Twist: Spiral Proteins are Effective Gene Delivery Agents

Illinois researchers developed spiral polypeptides that can deliver DNA segments to cells with high efficiency and relatively low toxicity, a step toward clinical gene therapy. The team, from left, postdoctoral researchers Lichen Yin and Dong Li; Fei Wang, a professor of cell and developmental biology; Jianjun Cheng, a professor of materials science and engineering; and Nathan Gabrielson, a postdoctoral researcher.

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Molecular basis of bacterial protein Hen1 activating the ligase activity of bacterial protein Pnkp for RNA repair

Associate Professor of Biochemistry Raven Huang and colleagues have published "Molecular basis of bacterial protein Hen1 activating the ligase activity of bacterial protein Pnkp for RNA repair" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Synthesis of Methylphosphonic Acid by Marine Microbes: A Source for Methane in the Aerobic Ocean

Professor of Microbiology William Metcalf is lead author on a new study of ocean methane in Science. Up to 4 percent of the methane on Earth comes from the ocean’s oxygen-rich waters, but scientists have been unable to identify the source of this potent greenhouse gas. Now researchers report that they have found the culprit: a bit of “weird chemistry” practiced by the most abundant microbes on the planet.

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Circadian Rhythm of Redox State Regulates Excitability in Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Neurons

Although cellular metabolic (redox) state has long been associated with a housekeeping role, recent research from a team lead by Martha Gillette, and including the Lee Cox and Jonathan Sweedler groups, provides new insights on cellular redox states, linking them to the intrinsic daily (circadian) clock in the brain. In the August 17th issue of Science, T. A. Wang et al. show that redox states in this brain region reflect daily cycles of metabolism. This 24-hour metabolic rhythm regulates the electrical activity of the neurons that comprise the mammalian central circadian clock. Thus, cross talk between energetic and neuronal states enables cellular state to influence brain physiology.

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IN OBESITY, A MICRO-RNA CAUSES METABOLIC PROBLEMS

A team including corresponding author Associate Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Jongsook Kim Kemper has identified a key molecular player in a chain of events in the body that can lead to fatty liver disease, Type II diabetes and other metabolic abnormalities associated with obesity. By blocking this molecule, the researchers were able to reverse some of the pathology it caused in obese mice. Their findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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The p23 Molecular Chaperone and GCN5 Acetylase Jointly Modulate Protein-DNA Dynamics and Open Chromatin Status

Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and Alexander von Humboldt Scholar Brian Freeman and colleagues have published "The p23 Molecular Chaperone and GCN5 Acetylase Jointly Modulate Protein-DNA Dynamics and Open Chromatin Status" in Molecular Cell.

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Using planarian flatworms to understand organ regeneration

In a new study published in the October 16 issue of Developmental Cell, corresponding author Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Phillip Newmark and colleagues report the identification of genes that control growth and regeneration of the intestine in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

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