Highlights Archive

2014

Abigail salyers

Microbial Diversity – A Tribute to the Life and Work of Abigail Salyers

Symposium: Saturday, November 8, 2014 Hosted by the Department of Microbiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Side-chain rotamers make a difference

Third-year Biophysics graduate student Tyler Harpole and Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Biophysics and Neuroscience, Claudio Grosman, have used molecular dynamics and Brownian dynamics computer simulations to test a novel hypothesis as to how the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor controls the rate at which cations enter the cell through the receptor’s transmembrane pore.

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A radical reaction utilizes two of the most popular cofactors for tRNA modification

In the latest issue of Nature Chemical Biology, biochemistry graduate student Kiruthika Selvadurai and associate professor Raven Huang reported their findings that the chemistry of eukaryotic tRNA modification at the “wobble” position is performed entirely by a single subunit of the six-subunit Elongator complex, and involves formation of a highly unusual radical intermediate on acetyl-CoA.

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CD2AP is necessary to stabilize the actin polymer associated with cadherins at adhesive cell junctions

By capping the tips of actin filaments, CD2AP reinforces the junctions between epithelial cells, Tang and Brieher show.

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Scientists discover a new role for estrogen in the pathology of breast cancer

Biochemistry professor David Shapiro (center), M.D.-Ph.D student Neal Andruska (left), graduate student Xiaobin Zheng and their colleagues discovered a new mechanism by which estrogen contributes to the pathology of breast cancer. The findings are published in the journal Oncogene.

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Phosphorylation of HP1α regulates mitosis in human cells

The Prasanth laboratory, with post-doctoral associate and lead author, Arindam Chakraborty, have shown that mammalian NDR kinase mediates the hinge specific phosphorylation of HP1α preferentially at the G2/M phase of the cell cycle in Nature Communications.

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Scientists engineer human T cell receptors against cancer antigens

Graduate student Sheena Smith and Professor David Kranz of the Department of Biochemistry have developed an approach to discover T cell receptors that could be therapeutically useful against different cancers. In collaboration with graduate students Yuhang Wang and Javier Baylor and Professor Emad Tajkhorshid, molecular dynamics simulations revealed plausible mechanisms for the “switch” in specificities.

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Professor Jongsook Kim Kemper and collaborators discover FXR and CREB as key physiological regulators of autophagy, published in the journal Nature.

Autophagy or “self-eating” is the breakdown and recycling of cellular components and is essential for cellular survival under starvation but must be suppressed upon feeding. Acute regulation of preexisting autophagy machinery by protein phosphorylation is well defined, but longer-term regulation of the synthesis of these proteins is not. The team found that feeding-activated FXR and fasting-activated CREB are key physiological regulators of hepatic autophagy that oppositely regulate the autophagy gene network during feeding/fasting cycles.

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Professor Tajkhorshid Awarded Supercomputing Capacity at DOE National Laboratory

Large-scale simulations will develop a greater understanding of cellular membrane transporters, which could allow drug developers to design more targeted drugs for major pathophysiological conditions such as psychological disorders, cancer, and multi-drug resistance.

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Team discovers how microbes build a powerful antibiotic

From left, University of Illinois graduate research assistant Manuel A. Ortega, chemistry professor Wilfred van der Donk, graduate student Yue Hao, biochemistry professor Satish Nair, and postdoctoral researcher Mark Walker solved a decades-old mystery into how a broad class of natural antibiotics are made.

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Jongsook Kim Kemper’s lab discovers that elevated acetylation of FXR in obesity promotes hepatic inflammation, published in the EMBO Journal

Associate Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Jongsook Kim Kemper, post-doctoral researcher, Dong-Hyun Kim, and their colleagues discovered that the function of a key metabolic transcriptional regulator, FXR, is modulated by an acetyl/SUMO switch, which is dysregulated in obesity. Elevated acetylation of FXR at Lys-217 in diet-induced obese mice inhibits its SUMOylation at Lys-277, which promotes hepatic inflammation and metabolic dysfunction. The findings are published in the EMBO Journal.

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Professor Phillip Newmark elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

The School of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology are proud to announce Dr. Phil Newmak’s fellowship with the AAAS, a prestigious scientific society composed of those who have made outstanding contributions to their field.

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