Saturday, June 28, 2008

Research News

Links to some Science Daily articles follow. They cover a range of topics with some news on each one.

Cell Surface Receptors Are All 'Talk' In T Cell Stimulation

This article explores immunological cells known as T cells which contain proteins on the surfaces of their cells known as antigens and integrins. Integrins enable T cells to latch onto things. Discovering how coordinated function occurs between the different cell surface receptors was a goal of researchers.

Key Regulator Of DNA Mutations Identified

Mutations are generally thought of as changes in DNA that are random with respect to fitness. However, as the above article points out, some mutations within immunological cells known as B lymphocytes, are induced. A protein known as AID changes a segment of DNA which encodes antibodies. The induced change can enable an antibody to bind to a different target or can enable a tighter cling to an already existing target. A type of RNA called miR-155 is able to bind to AID and regulate it and the mutation process it fosters.

Key Step In Programmed Cell Death Discovered

Apoptosis, commonly characterized as programmed cell death, is a mechanism enabling eukaryotic organisms to rid themselves of defective cells. But like any process the mechanisms enabling apoptosis can break down. To be effective apoptosis must be correctly regulated. Too much control may mean that defective cells are not killed off and too little may mean that healthy cells are killed.

The linked article notes that St. Jude Children's Research Hospital researchers have identified proteins which restrain apoptosis. If a full complement of needed proteins is not present then the ability to restrain apoptosis can be compromised. Results were published in the journal Nature.

Infectious And Non-infectious Prions Have Clear Differences In Molecular Structures

Infectious and non-infectious prions are differently structured at differing pH levels. The infectious version (pH 7) was described as having both rigid domains and highly flexible loops.



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